PDP leaps 8%
The People’s Democratic Party scored the biggest gain in the latest Fiji Sun poll.
The eighth weekly voter survey shows PDP jumping from less than one per cent in the Preferred Political Party stakes to eight per cent.
This is a major recovery. In the earlier polls PDP was in double digits. But then its ratings began to plummet. This was attributed to lack of activities. The proposed FijiFirst party lost ground from 66 per cent to 57 but its leader Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama held on to 82 per cent in the Preferred PM polling.
The novelty of the blue bus may have worn off after its launch. But the PM’s personal popularity among the people continues like an unstoppable political juggernaut.
PDP’s resurgence in the polls is surprising. What has it done to deserve it? To a large extent, it’s probably to do with the conviction of Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry for foreign exchange offences. If Mr Chaudhry is unable to contest the election, it will be a fatal blow to the party.
An exodus to PDP, its nearest rival in the battle for votes, has probably begun. The diehard Chaudhry loyalists would refuse to accept it’s déjà vu for the party. They would continue to push the line that their leader’s conviction would galvanise the rank and file and Labour would re-emerge stronger.
But without Mr Chaudhry, there is noone else who can command the same level of respect and support from the members. The poll shows that Labour continues to slip, from four per cent the previous week to three per cent. The uncertainty in Mr Chaudhry’s future has even ruffled the confidence of party faithfuls.
PDP offers the best alternatives in terms of the party’s policies. The trade union bloc which was one of the cornerstones of Labour is now a major force in PDP. Who knows? A merge or amalgamation is not a far-fetched idea. It would make sense and reap political benefits for the members.
The trade unions broke away from Labour because of their leaders’ fight with Mr Chaudhry. If Mr Chaudhry is out of the picture, it would probably smoothen the road for reunification, a coalition perhaps, if there are technical difficulties under the electoral laws.
Despite the drop in its standing the proposed FijiFirst is well ahead of its nearest rival, the PDP in the Preferred Party stakes.
The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), on five per cent below PDP, however, is still seen by 27 per cent of those polled, as the party that potentially will give the PM’s proposed party the stiffest challenge.
There appears to be an assumption here that when SODELPA finally puts its act together, it will become a force to reckon with.
On this count, PDP which should be polling higher and is even behind Labour by 10 per cent, is probably seen as not having the firepower to foot it with the PM’s proposed party in terms of personnel. One would think that the polling results for Preferred Party and party that would give the PM’s proposed party the biggest challenge would have some form of correlation.
But it did not happen in this latest poll. It’s probably the beginning of a new trend indicating that we may be entering a new phase that would be fluid. This means we can expect some fluctuations in polling results because people could change their opinions weekly as campaigns hot up.