By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Progressive Liberal Party is not surprised by Public Domain’s poll highlighting the growing dissatisfaction Bahamians have in the Minnis administration since the 2017 general election, party Chairman Senator Fred Mitchell said yesterday.
Mr Mitchell said he believed the government’s inability to manage the country’s finances, problems identifying with the concerns of common people and Bahamians realising the Free National Movement’s “hypocrisy,” have contributed to the level of “malaise” revealed by the poll.
It found fewer than 50 percent of Bahamians are generally satisfied with the government’s performance.
“The results are broadly similar to our own private polls tracking these matters,” the chairman said in a statement yesterday. “The anecdotal evidence is everywhere to be seen and heard.
“When you disaggregate the opinions, it appears that the independent voters have shifted back to their studied positions. The PLP’s base is completely fed up. Together they appear to make up the majority who are dissatisfied.”
He continued: “Our private soundings tell us that three things come up that account for the level of malaise: the inability of the government to manage the country’s finances; the inability to identify with common people’s concerns; and the hypocrisy that has been uncovered in light of the deceit and untruths of the campaign that have been revealed.
“The PLP is aware of the vagaries of polls and how they ebb and flow. We are concentrating on rebuilding and the fundamentals of the structure for a modern party ready to govern on day one; one voter at a time.”
According to the poll – conducted by the private research firm and released to the media on Wednesday – the number of Bahamians generally dissatisfied with the administration has increased by 28 per cent since last May even as the number of people generally satisfied with the administration has declined by 18 per cent.
The poll also shows a substantial number of people surveyed now believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
The poll was conducted from March 15 to April 7 and relies on a random, weighed sample of 1,000 Bahamians. It comes as the administration prepares to mark its one year anniversary on May 10.
Respondents were asked: “How satisfied are you with the current government?”
To this question, 12 percent of respondents said they are very satisfied with the Minnis administration; 35 percent said they are somewhat satisfied; 16 percent said they are very dissatisfied with the administration and 17 percent said they are somewhat dissatisfied in the administration.
Twenty-one per cent of respondents did not know or answer the question.
By contrast, in a November 2017 survey by Public Domain, 14 percent were very satisfied with the administration, 42 percent were somewhat satisfied, 13 percent were very dissatisfied, 15 percent were somewhat dissatisfied and 16 percent did not know or answer the question.
In the group’s May poll, 65 percent of respondents were generally satisfied in the government and only five percent at the time were generally not satisfied.
The FNM won the 2017 general election with 57 percent of the vote.
Joey Gaskins, an adjunct lecturer of sociology at the University of the Bahamas and a senior communications and policy strategist for Public Domain, said the numbers highlight “slippage in support” for the government.
He noted in a press release: “I don’t believe the slippage is permanent and there is still time to recover. But, one thing our polling over the last seven years has taught us is that once the Bahamian people form negative attitudes toward an administration they stop listening, and once they stop listening, it is very difficult to regain their support.”