Govt continues to receive strong approval ratings

Dear Editor,
The findings of an opinion poll I have been conducting shows President Irfaan Ali and his Government remain popular a year into his Administration. The Government continues to receive strong approval ratings and satisfaction for handling of the flood situation and COVID although voters are not pleased with the high cost of living. It has received widespread praise for the stimulus and educational grants, but respondents are looking forward for flood relief cash. Almost all the Ministries and Ministers and the Prime Minister — Works, Agriculture, Education, Social Security, Local Government, Public Works, Natural Resources, Information, Housing, among others, received strong ratings for delivery of services.
The survey is being carried out to determine the popularity of the Government as it completes a year in office after the President was sworn in on August 2 last year, some five months after the election was held on March. The poll, being conducted over the last couple of weeks, interviewed 750 respondents (41 per cent Indians, 30 per cent Africans, 18 per cent Mixed, 10 per cent Amerindians, and 1 per cent other ethnic categories) to reflect the demographic diversity of the population. The poll has a margin of error of 4 per cent, meaning views can vary 4 per cent in either direction.
The Government faced one crisis after another since it took office August 2, 2020. The public feels the Administration has managed the crises very well, receiving kudos for handling COVID-19, flooding, education, housing, social services, public works, agriculture, and other areas of governance. But there is widespread complaint about rising cost of living and crime, with people expressing fear of public security. The public complained about very high cost of living, crime, joblessness, and low wages that are not keeping pace with almost daily rising prices of basic food items and fuel.
Based on the findings of the poll, 63 per cent approve of the performance of President Irfaan Ali, while 29 per cent disapprove and 8 per cent not expressing an opinion. It finds that 59 per cent respondents approve of Government’s performance with 34 per cent dissatisfied and 7 per cent not expressing a view. The trend is similar for the performance of Prime Minister Mark Phillips, with approval at 61 per cent, disapproval at 33 per cent, and 6 per cent not offering an opinion.
The Opposition trails the Government in rating — only 33 per cent approve with 56 per cent disapproving and 11 per cent not offering an opinion. The Opposition Leader’s (Joe Harmon) approval rating is at 34 per cent with a disapproval of 54 per cent and 12 per cent not expressing a view.
Queried about the No-Confidence Motions (NCMs) against the Ministers of Health, Home Affairs, and Opposition Leader, a majority (52 per cent) feels it would be a waste of time. However, the public supports the idea of the Opposition holding the Government accountable. But a majority don’t feel the Opposition has been doing an effective job in taking the Government to task, saying the Opposition “is opposing for opposing sake” without offering credible workable alternative solutions to problems or Government policies. The findings show most Government supporters oppose the NCM against their Ministers while Opposition supporters support it. Most APNU supporters oppose the NCM against the Opposition Leader while Government supporters back it. However, 10 per cent APNU supporters back the motion against the Opposition Leader.
The poll queried adults on a number of other issues. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram