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Higher than 30% voter turnout expected in local gov't election - poll

Nakinskie Robinson reports
By Nakinskie Robinson   
 
For the first time in years, the parish council election is expected to see a voter turnout above 30 per cent.
 
That's on the higher end for a local government election.
 
According to the latest RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll, 41 per cent of respondents said they will be exercising their franchise on February 26.
 
If this holds true on election day, it will represent a 30 per cent increase from the voter turnout seen eight years ago at 30.06 per cent.
 
That 41 per cent is an interesting turn given the steady decline in voter turnout for past elections.
 
If it is achieved, it would surpass the 37 per cent from the 2020 parliamentary election, which was held during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Pollster and head of Market Research Services Don Anderson says there are factors that could affect this forecast. 
 
"There's always a little bit of a dissonance between those who say they are going to go out to vote and those who actually go out to vote, for various reasons. In the past, it used to be intimidation, it used to be weather, all kinds of stuff. But we believe, based on all the studies that we've been doing that the turnout could actually be close to what is actually indicated here. The undecideds are likely to boost that number or in fact we may very well have that number not reaching 41 per cent because of factors that we have become associated with," he explained. 
 
Of note, however, is the 34 per cent who definitively said they will not be voting.
 
At the same time, another 25 per cent are uncertain about exercising their franchise, highlighting a noticeable body of undecided voters who could be swayed by political parties.
 
A low turnout is expected from those aged 18 to 24 years old.
 
Some people within that group would also be voting in local government for the first time.
 
Also worth noting is that 47 per cent of respondents expressed a clear interest in Monday's election.
 
But marginally trailing is the 41 per cent of eligible voters who say they have no interest at all.
 
Twelve per cent are unsure.
 
The poll was conducted amongst a sample of 1,010 registered voters, aged 18 and older.
 
Field work was conducted between February 2 to February 7.
 
The margin of error was plus or minus three per cent.


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