|42% expect next election to be the cleanest
39% believe next election will not be the cleanest
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
DESPITE the strenuous effort by electoral officials to build public confidence in the electoral system, Jamaicans remain sharply divided on whether this will be the cleanest and fairest contest ever when they cast their ballots in the general elections to be held here by yearend, the latest Observer/Stone poll has shown.
Only 41.7 per cent of the people of the age that makes them eligible to vote are confident that the contest will meet the standards being enunciated by officials, marginally more than the 39.1 per cent who hold otherwise.
In fact, the 2.6 percentage point difference between the two is within the survey's margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.
For this poll, done on August 17 and 18, Stone used a sample of 1,202 of people aged 18 and over, in 40 communities across Jamaica.
Jamaica has had a history of violence and rigging in a handful of so-called garrison constituencies of which parties have hard-core support and from which opponents are often excluded.
But the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC), which oversees elections, and the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) have overhauled the system for appointing election officials, and Parliament has strengthened the laws under which the Constituted Authority can suspend or halt an election in a constituency. Electoral officials have warned too that they will be aggressive, in cases of fraud, in sending matters to the Election Court to overturn results.
But despite these efforts and promises of greater transparency in the management of the system, people are almost equally divided on whether the election will be at the standards being declared by the EAC and EOJ.
Approximately 19 per cent had no position on the matter.
Indications are that the 2002 general elections will soon be held. The Electoral Office of Jamaica and the EAC have said that they are ready for the elections and that it will be the cleanest and fairest of all elections. Do you believe that this will be so?
Yes, will be cleanest 41.7%
No, will not be cleanest 39.1%
Don't know 18.8%