JLP ahead but PNP clos­ing fast

Jamaica Gleaner - - IN FOCUS -

AS THE night of Novem­ber 28 eases into the early morn­ing of the next day, the Ja­maica Labour Party (JLP) is bank­ing on its or­gan­i­sa­tional readi­ness, sig­nif­i­cant em­bers re­main­ing of the fire of Fe­bru­ary 25, and its hold on the state ma­chin­ery to hugely re­verse the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party’s (PNP) 152 elec­toral di­vi­sions and in­crease its 75.

I am not get­ting the sense that the peo­ple most likely to vote on Mon­day will be us­ing the JLP ad­min­is­tra­tion’s most-spo­ken-of ‘pol­icy success’, that of keep­ing the macroe­con­omy on an even keel and head­ing slowly in the right di­rec­tion as a key judgement.

There has been a vis­i­ble uptick in jobs in pri­vate con­struc­tion, and this tells me that those in the mid­dle and up­per mid­dle class are us­ing credit, mak­ing the banks happy, and stim­u­lat­ing the econ­omy by pro­vid­ing site jobs from $1,500 per day up to the level of where the boss starts to bawl.

The few who will turn out to­mor­row (prob­a­bly low 26 per cent to a high of 36 per cent) will do so more on the ba­sis that they are diehard sup­port­ers of their party than they give two fly­ing figs that garbage has not been col­lected in two weeks or that the gully stinks. But if the mid­dle class sits this one out as usual, and there is room for op­ti­mism among them, and the busi­ness class has no rea­son to frown, all of those so­cial gears may just pro­vide for the JLP the in­ter­lock­ing slots that will put it over the edge and win the elec­tions. But with the sur­prise of polls done not pub­lished, it is very dif­fi­cult to ‘guessti­mate’ the seat break­down, ex­cept to say the Kingston and St An­drew Cor­po­ra­tion will be a keener con­test than the many out­side of the Kingston Met­ro­pol­i­tan Area, and con­ven­tional wis­dom (does the con­cept still ex­ist?) sup­ports the idea that the JLP has ex­uded con­fi­dence through­out the cam­paign, while the PNP seems forced into quiet mode. If crime con­cerns should some­how en­ter the judgement, the JLP could suf­fer. On the other hand, core sup­port­ers of the JLP and the

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