Approval of PM tops 60 percent

Survey results also show high overall approval of govt

Prime Minister Philip Davis and his administration’s job approval ratings remain relatively high two years into their term, according to the results of a survey conducted in recent days by the Bahamian market research and strategy firm, Public Domain.

Public Domain asked respondents whether they approve of the job being done by the prime minister.

Twenty-three percent said they strongly approve and 42 percent said they somewhat approve.

Nine percent somewhat disapprove; nine percent strongly disapprove and 16 percent said they don’t know.

There was not a huge difference in percentages when broken down by sex and age.

When asked if they approve of the job being done by the government, 21 percent said they strongly approve and 43 percent said they somewhat approve.

Ten percent said they somewhat disapprove and 11 percent said they strongly disapprove. 

Sixteen percent said they don’t know.

The largest “strongly disapprove” response came from males 55 and older — 22 percent said they strongly disapprove of the job being done by the Davis administration. 

Nineteen percent of males 55 and older said they “strongly disapprove” of the job being done by the prime minister himself.

The largest “strongly approve” response to both questions also came from males in that age group — in both instances, 28 percent said they strongly approve of the job the prime minister is doing, and the job the Davis administration is doing. 

Public Domain said it conducted a telephone survey September 5-7, 2023.

The main objective of the survey was to measure Bahamians’ approval with the job being done by the prime minister and the current government.

To achieve this goal, 589 residents throughout The Bahamas were interviewed using a random digit dialing methodology, the firm said.

Public Domain said respondents were randomly selected and were screened on the basis of age being at least 18 years old and being a resident of The Bahamas.

“Data has been weighted in order to represent the population on the basis of age and gender (based on the 2010 Census data),” the firm said.

Public Domain President Mwale Rahming, who spoke with The Nassau Guardian on Sunday, was asked what accounts for the above 60 percent approval ratings.

“Because we didn’t ask [that] question, I don’t know,” Rahming responded.

Asked about the methodology, he said randomness of the polling lends to the credibility of the results.

“We take the first three digits of your phone number, whatever they [are], whether landline or cell phone; for example, let’s say you are a 376, and we auto generate the last four digits and do that for every single NXX, the first three digits of every possible phone number in The Bahamas, other than the government’s 302,” he explained. 

“So you have the exact same chance of getting polled if you’re sitting in Killarney in New Providence or if you’re sitting in Exuma, or MICAL or wherever.”

Asked for a deeper analysis of what the results suggest, Rahming said it is not appropriate for him to get into what the results are saying to the governing or opposition party, but he said, “A lot of times what we do in this country is we think that we know [what] the masses [think] because all my friends around me are saying one thing and we call that the bubble effect, the echo chamber effect. 

“So, because people are my friends, they tend to have the same ideas and values as me and they tend to have the same thought processes as me, so everybody around me is saying x, y, z. 

“The reason we (Public Domain) exist is we want to say ‘listen, no, really what’s the actual public opinion, not just sort of your word of mouth’ … there are actual numbers.”

Rahming added, “Opinions are great. Data is better.”

Public Domain funded the survey, according to Rahming. 

He was also asked to explain why the sample size of 589 residents was acceptable for a population of 400,000.

“The real thing there is random sampling, and again, I tell people, if you were doing a survey downtown on Bay Street, you will not get my 94-year-old grandmother’s opinion,” Rahming said.

“You will get the opinions of people who go walking downtown. That’s not a valid sample to me, even if you did 1,000 of those, because you’re not random digit sampling or random sampling.

“Random sampling is important because when we start the survey, every single Bahamian should have the equal opportunity chance of being polled and that’s how random sampling works. If I’m excluding a particular population for whatever reason, my randomness goes now.”

On September 16, 2021, the Progressive Liberal Party won 32 of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly, a complete turn of the tables from 2017 when it won just four.

While the victory was a major one for the PLP, the party came to office with the support of just 34 percent of registered voters, as voter turnout was only at 65 percent.

Still, the results of the Public Domain survey are likely to be highlighted continuously by the governing party as evidence that the public highly approves of the job it is doing.

The results could also be viewed by the government as a renewed mandate of sorts as it continues a reset heading into the remainder of its term in office.

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Candia Dames

Candia Dames is the executive editor of The Nassau Guardian.

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