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(WiredJA) – A recent public opinion poll conducted by Dr. Vishnu Bisram for the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) over the last few weeks, has sent a strong signal to the Opposition and the PNC in particular, to get its act together if it is to once again see the insides of State House as a resident.
According to NACTA, “national political attitudes have not been kind or favorable towards Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton in this politically and culturally polarized society. President Ali, on the other hand, is very likeable and popular.”
According to the opinion poll which has been monitoring political attitudes towards leading politicians, “the PNC leader has been struggling to win peoples’ confidence and for support or traction within his own party’s political base as well as nationally.”
The NACTA poll finding says the public has had a huge net positive favorable rating of President Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Mark Phillips, and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, among others.
On the other hand, while there is a net negative favorability rating of Norton, others in his party to include Amanza Walton-Desir, Ganesh Mahipaul, Geeta Chandan, Volda Lawrence, Christopher Jones, and Roysdale Forde have had a positive net rating.
Norton was elected leader of the opposition PNC in December 2021. But since then, he has been struggling to gain traction within the party and win national appeal to solidify his place as leader and to lead his party to victory in elections.
Surveys conducted in December 2021 and in February 2022 found favorable support for Norton becoming Opposition Leader. It was felt that since he won the leadership contest, he had the right to serve as Opposition Leader.
He became opposition leader in April 2021 and ever since he has been losing popular appeal within the party’s base. He trails others in popularity ratings within the party base. Support for him as leader of the PNC has whittled away and plateaued.
Only 13% of traditional PNC supporters back him, whereas his political opponent, President Irfaan Ali, has soaring approval ratings (80s) in his party’s base and sixtieth percentile nationally. Norton has no cross over ethnic support, and he is not attracting support from floating or middle of the ground voters critical to winning an election.
Discontented traditional supporters of the PPP reject him. He is not viewed, not even among PNC supporters, as an alternative President in the making to replace incumbent Irfaan Ali. Ali comes across as a populist likeable leader whereas Norton is viewed as the opposite, and not surprisingly he lags behind Ali in popular appeal and voter support.
The general view among the national public is that the PNC will not rebound under Norton’s leadership and will lose the upcoming LGE. Respondents are of the view that Norton should make way for younger, more likeable leadership of the PNC to stem the tide against support loss.
However, within the party, almost half its supporters feel Norton should be allowed to complete his tenure as leader of the PNC and be given the opportunity to lead the party into the local elections likely later this year.
When asked who should replace Norton should he demit office, Roysdale Forde is the leading choice followed by Volda Lawrence and Amanza Walton-Desir, with others trailing way behind.
The latter two exhibit challenges winning trust and confidence and cross over support from Indians because of ill-advised remarks uttered years ago. Although Volda has strong grass roots support as a party organizer; Indian voters seemingly don’t forget their remarks.
Forde however, does not carry a similar baggage. He is viewed as having good crossover appeal.
Respondents describe Forde as a professional with an amicable persona and who engages and listens to people and as having apt leadership credentials. Volda Lawrence and Amanza Walton-Desir trail Forde by double digits as potential successor to Norton.
Dr. Bisram has been conducting opinion polls in Guyana since the late 1980s. The latest poll interviewed 570 likely voters to reflect the ethnic composition of the population; the poll has a margin of error of 5%. (WIRE JA News team)