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Holness over Portia

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Holness over Portia

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KINGSTON – Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is drowning in a sea of unpopularity among Jamaicans, with a plurality believing that Andrew Holness, the leader of the Opposition, would do a far better job than her as prime minister at this time.

By nearly a 2:1 margin, Jamaicans surveyed in a Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll conducted on September 6-7 and 13-14 said Holness would do better than Simpson Miller in leading Jamaica through the present stormy waters.

The poll was conducted among 1 208 residents of Jamaica and has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.

Coming at the midpoint of the People s National Party (PNP) term in office, the poll also shows that most Jamaicans – 73 per cent – believe the country is heading in the wrong direction under the leadership of Simpson Miller.

Responding to the question of ‘who do you think would do the better job as prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller or Andrew Holness?’, 46 per cent of respondents said Holness, 26 per cent said Simpson Miller, and 28 per cent of those polled were undecided.

Breathing space for Holness

The poll results could provide well-needed breathing space for Holness who, despite a bruising fight last year to retain his position as leader of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) after he was challenged by Audley Shaw, is struggling to inspire and unite his party.

It spells bad news for Simpson Miller and her party, which Holness and the JLP have accused of failing the people’s test.

“Since she became party leader, the PNP’s chances have always risen or fallen on her popularity, and right now her popularity is at an all-time low,” noted Johnson.

The pollster said that the PNP will have significant work to do in order to turn around Simpson Miller’s fortunes. He noted that the reason for Simpson Miller’s poor showing in the polls will be revealed as The Gleaner releases more and more poll findings.

The previous Bill Johnson poll, conducted on the eve of the December 2011 general election, also had Simpson Miller trailing Holness when Jamaicans were asked who would do a better job as prime minister. Then, 42 per cent of Jamaicans selected Holness and 39 per cent said Simpson Miller.

Simpson Miller would, however, lead the PNP into a landslide victory at the election, winning 42 of the 63 seats in the House of Representatives.

Before the 2007 general election in which Bruce Golding led the JLP to a 32-28 win over Simpson Miller’s PNP in the then 60-seat House of Representatives, Golding had a 41 per cent favourability rating to Simpson Miller 32. (Jamaica Gleaner)