The People's National Party (PNP) has for the first time since the 2016 general election narrowed the gap between itself and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), but remains eight percentage points behind.
This is the finding of the latest RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll, which asked persons how they would vote if a general election was called now.
The poll was conducted between February 8 and 18 among 1,038 people islandwide.
The number of persons who say they would vote for the Jamaica Labour Party has been steadily increasing since the party won the general election four years ago.
The widest gap in February last year, had the JLP 11 percentage points ahead of the PNP.
This year, for the first time, the PNP has gained on the JLP.
Pollster Don Anderson said the number of persons supporting the PNP has moved from 18 per cent last year to 22 per cent this year.
However, he said the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent, shows JLP still has a firm grip on the lead, with 30 per cent saying they would vote for that party in the next election.
Twenty-four per cent said they were not sure who they would vote for and another 24 per cent said they would definitely not vote.
Reasons for support
Similar to last year's results, the main reason people gave for supporting the PNP was tradition.
Mr. Anderson said this contrasts with the main reason given by JLP supporters, which was that they thought the party was the better government and was doing a good job.
Where the PNP is concerned, some 46 per cent said they always vote for the party; 24 per cent said the PNP was the better government; nine per cent said the PNP is more for the poor; and eight per cent said the party is not as corrupt as the JLP and was more transparent.
For the JLP, 33 per cent said they would vote for that party because they were the better government, more progressive and they are doing a good job; 14 per cent said they are traditional party supporters; 11 per cent said they would vote for the JLP because they had implemented a number of workable initiatives; and nine per cent said they would vote for that party because they see the economy growing.
Mr. Anderson also said there is a significant difference in the ages of the people who said they would vote for the JLP versus the PNP.
For the PNP, he noted that older persons were its core supporters. The JLP on the other hand, had significant support from for persons under 35.
Corruption and voting decision
In the meantime, Mr. Anderson said it appears corruption does not influence how most Jamaicans vote, as 58 per cent said 'no' when asked whether corruption influenced their voting decision.
Thirty-seven per cent of people believed corruption did influence their voting decision, while three per cent did not know and two per cent were not sure.
The issue of corruption has been a frequent talking point in the last two years.
The Andrew Holness-led administration has been grappling with a series of corruption scandals, particularly at the energy and education ministries.