Holness keeps rising

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has seen an 11 percentage points increase in his favourability rating over the past four months, while that of Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has slipped by two percentage points.

Those are the findings of veteran pollster Bill Johnson’s latest survey in which Holness outperforms Phillips in a number of attributes among voting age Jamaicans.

The latest poll, commissioned by the Jamaica Observer, was conducted July 9-12, 2020 using a sample size of 1,200 Jamaicans. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent.

Johnson provided the data with comparisons to a poll he conducted March 12-15, 2020 but which was not published due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Jamaica.

The pollster said, in the July survey, when his researchers asked people if they have a favourable or an unfavourable opinion about Holness, 69 per cent said they had a favourable opinion about the prime minister, 14 per cent said “unfavourable”, and 17 per cent said they were “not sure”.

In the March poll, 58 per cent of respondents said they had a favourable opinion of Holness, 17 per cent said “unfavourable”, while 25 per cent said they were “not sure”.

When the same question was asked in relation to Dr Phillips in July, 17 per cent of respondents said they had a favourable opinion of him, 44 per cent said “unfavourable”, and 39 per cent said they were “not sure”.

In the March poll, Dr Phillips’s numbers were 19 per cent “favourable”, 40 per cent “unfavourable”, and 41 per cent “not sure”.

In both polls Holness scored higher than Phillips among respondents, who said the prime minister cares more about people like them, works harder, is smarter, and has their respect as a leader.

“Perceptions of Holness in each of the four attributes increased significantly from March, while perceptions of Phillips decreased marginally,” Johnson pointed out yesterday.

He noted that the people who voted for the People’s National Party (PNP) in the 2016 General Election perceive Phillips better than Holness in caring about the problems of people. At the same time, those 2016 “PNP voters perceive Holness as working harder than Phillips, and they rate Holness and Phillips statistically the same in smarts and leadership”.

Phillips’s favourability rating was one of the issues Peter Bunting raised when he challenged the PNP president last year. At the time, Bunting and his supporters had argued that under Phillips’s leadership the PNP would not be able to defeat the ruling Jamaica Labour Party.

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