KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller has plummeted from being Jamaica’s most popular politician and is now living in the shadow of Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
According to the findings of the most recent Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson polls, conducted on November 24 and 25 in 84 communities across Jamaica, Mrs. Simpson Miller has dropped nine percentage points in her favourability rating since the general elections.
Prime Minister Golding has dropped one per cent, but Mrs. Simpson Miller’s faster drop has created a four-percentage gap between the leaders.
Commenting on his findings, Mr. Johnson said that Mrs. Simpson Miller “has gone from being the most popular politician to a run-of-the-mill politician.”
Mrs. Simpson Miller, according to the survey, has a favourability rating of 41 per cent. Her unfavourability rating is 39 per cent. Twenty per cent of the sample were not sure what opinion to have of the Opposition Leader.
The charismatic Simpson Miller was portrayed to Jamaicans during the general election campaign as a caring woman who understands the plight of the working class. However, Mr. Johnson said that his team of researcher found that people now hold the view that “she is more talk and less action.”
The People’s National Party president, when she became Prime Minister 20 months ago, enjoyed a 78 per cent favourability rating.
Meanwhile, Mr. Golding, who has been labelled as a boring politician, has a favourability rating of 45 per cent, one per cent less than the 46 per cent he enjoyed going into the September 3 general elections.
Mr. Golding’s unfavourabality rating has dropped by three per cent to 35 percent. Twenty percent of the sample was unsure of how to view the prime minister.
On the matter of who people believed would do a better job as prime minister, Simpson Miller has fallen by eight percent since the last survey in August. Her standing is now at 32 per cent while Golding has remained firm at 41 per cent. Twenty-five percent of the sample was undecided and two percent refused.
The difference in personal standings between Mr. Golding and Mrs. Simpson Miller is no surprise to political statistician and historian Troy Caine.
“People are now seeing Golding for what he is, a very astute leader,” said Caine,
“While he is not a freshman in the business, people are only now seeing Mr. Golding’s political capabilities, while Mrs. Simpson Miller’s limitations are showing up and it is even worse as Opposition leader than when she was prime minister,” argued Caine.
Similarly, Dr. Carol Archer, political commentator and Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of Technology, is also not surprised about Mrs. Simpson Miller’s fall.
“We have not seen her in her true form, that is speaking out for the most vulnerable among us as we have become accustomed to seeing her do, and she has thus conceded the stage to Mr. Golding,” Dr. Archer commented.
Dr. Archer, a former PNP candidate, said that Mr. Golding has benefited from Mrs. Simpson Miller giving up the stage, but notes that the favourable political wind could soon change on him.
“The wind is blowing his way now, but may not blow in his favour for long if he continues to be inconsistent in his pronouncements and decisions,” Dr. Archer said.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.