Posted by: nastylittletruths | September 3, 2010

Numbers Don’t Lie

When I am out of the island I always try to check in a quick cursory way what’s happening home by accessing the newspapers online. And I’ve complained about this before… The sheer volume of ‘ignant’ people who should not have a computer in the first place, much less access to the internet. (Yeah, yeah… I know how that sounds). But come on, if you can’t structure a sentence properly or can’t even spell, why try to fool people into thinking that you can read, understand, critically analyse and make a valid response?

Anyway, when I read the tripe, like an addicted fool really, there seems to be a general train of thought that PNM supporters left in droves to vote for the PP and are now ‘sorry and repentant’… Nothing can be further from the truth (as this blog has mentioned many times over) since the core PNM vote never really moves anywhere. Imagine after all that happened in the last 2 1/2 years – Uff Commission, Calder Hart, squandermania, talk about private jets, constitutional reform, etc., the PNM lost only 5% of their popular support. 5%! Now that is a constituency to own! You can beat them over their heads with a stick like a bobolee and they will still vote PNM. (Don’t worry UNC fanatics – I haven’t forgotten about you in the Basdeo Panday days…)

It’s your guess if the 5% stayed home or actually went out and voted for the PP…

Year          PNM                PP          Others  
2010       285,354 -4.8%         432,026 24.3%        2,347 -74.8%
2007       299,813 -2.9%         347,466 22.5%        9,297 -43.2%
2002       308,807 19.0%         283,656 1.7%       16,367 -18.5%
2001       259,450 -6.1%         278,781 -9.4%       20,090 98.7%
2000       276,334 6.8%         307,791 14.7%       10,113 172.4%
1995       258,792           268,337          3,713  

So let’s do some analysis based only on the figures above…

In 1995 when Patos lost his first snap election (probably the only person in the world who can lay claim to that record – he has a first and a second!) the combined UNC/NAR vote was a paltry 3.7% more, but five years later it moved to an 11.4% difference. Disregarding the allegations of voter padding, one can claim that the UNC performed creditably (couldn’t resist the pun) as the oil price was averaging around US$20 at that time and was able to attract more votes. With all the hate/race-mongering that took place during that period it isn’t surprising either that the PNM numbers went up too.

But see what happened in 2001 when Ramesh the Betrayer brought down the government? The PNM numbers went back down to the 1995 level and the UNC went down too because quite a few thousand wasted their vote on Ramesh’s party. And in the most stupid move ever in politics, Panday gave away his incumbency and a 20,000 margin… Again we will disregard voter padding for the PNM in the 2002 elections because all of a sudden they found 50,000 people to vote for them. Shockingly they lost a small 2.9% five years later on hence my reference to the infamous ‘300k’.

Even the know-it-all Colm Imbert seems staggered about the increase in votes for the PP from a reasonable UNC/COP combination of 347,466 to 432,026. There is a true classical political lesson here Colm… People go out to vote when they want to change a government. You didn’t know this? When the status quo is acceptable, apathy prevails and a low voter turnout redounds to the incumbent’s favour.

But the point is made… As a COP voter in 2007 who kept his tail between his legs, rode out all the jokes and was hunkering down for the five years till elections, the ‘educated commentators’ should just accept the fact that they lost and shut up. If you want to do something about the style of the PP’s governance, do like what the COP did in the 2 1/2 years they didn’t even have a voice in Parliament – work it on the outside. I’ll follow this up with a future post.

And for eagle-eyed amongst you, did you see what was happening with the ‘others’ numbers?


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