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Jagdeo shreds coalition-sponsored opinion poll as “fake”; challenges APNU+AFC to call elections now

PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo points to presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali while admitting he was his pick.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday sought to shred a governing coalition-sponsored opinion poll that shows President David Granger is more popular and credible than the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic’s (PPPC) presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali.

“This is a fake poll with fake results that APNU paid for and this intended to talk up their chances at the elections,” Jagdeo told a news conference. He challenged the governing coalition to call general elections now since the poll shows credible ratings for Granger compared to Ali.

“When you have those sorts of approval ratings, you just call elections…If you believe that you’re so popular, then call elections,” said Jagdeo who was president from 1999 to 2011.

Jagdeo, who is also PPP General Secretary, says his party has also conducted an opinion poll that shows it being “massively ahead” of the governing coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC). He declined to divulge details about that poll until the PPP’s leadership discusses it.

Jagdeo instead said the PPP was not bragging but working on the ground. “We are not arrogant, we are not complacent, we are working very hard,” he said.

The five-month-old poll findings, which were leaked to the state-run Guyana Chronicle newspaper on Thursday, shows that Granger has a high 94 percent approval rating among coalition supporters and an overall 40 percent of the 1,000 respondents prefer him to manage Guyana’s oil wealth instead of Ali with 24 percent.

Among uncertain voters, 23 percent said they wanted President Granger to handle Guyana’s new wealth compared with just 13 percent for Ali.

The Guyana Chronicle reported that 40 percent of the uncertain respondents prefer Granger’s leadership, while 34 percent said “no” and 26 percent were ‘unsure/won’t say’, leaving open the possibility of a number of them voting for the opposition PPPC.

“This section is extensive especially as it appears to be critical for the APNU+AFC and as such, the issue of leadership is analysed from several different perspectives… and it should be noted that, in this regard, respondents would could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ regardless of their political persuasion since it is possible for a person to approve of President Granger’s leadership and still support the PPP/Civic,” the document states.

Jagdeo remarked that the poll conducted by Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), which is headed by Political Consultant Peter Wickham, contained that forecast as a saving clause.

A keen political observer highlighted that the governing coalition was worried about the large number of undecided voters which could sway in favour of the opposition.