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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2705

Jaffna pre-election public opinion poll predicted lack of interest, showed choices not decided

By Joseph Thavaraja

Colombo, August 16 (Asiantribune.com): A pre-election public opinion poll conducted within the Jaffna Municipal Council in the run-up to the Jaffna elections showed that the majority of voters had ‘no interest in Sri Lankan politics at all.’ The majority also said that they registered for voting in the process. Also, a majority of Jaffna voters did not want to reveal to whom they were intending to vote on the elections day. Most of the voters said that their present economic condition has ‘not changed’ compared to a year ago while a similar number also saying ‘no change in their quality of life’ either. But the majority also said that they are aware about the candidates, and feel that in the next three years their quality of life will ‘become better’.

These facts are revealed by the first reportedly independent pre-election opinion poll conducted in Jaffna by Colombo’s Social Indicator of Centre for Policy Alternatives (SI-CPA). The opinion poll was conducted during the period of 22-24 July. In this first ever pre-elections opinion poll in Jaffna, 42.9% of respondents said they had “no interest in Sri Lankan politics at all’ while 39.5% said they had ‘some interest’. In the Jaffna elections, only 22.18% of the total of 100,417 registered voters turned up to cast their ballots (polling only 22,280). The majority 56.4% also said that they registered in the June-July 2008 voter registrations process.

SI-CPA conducted the opinion poll among 880 randomly selected eligible voters in all 23 Wards of Jaffna MC. SI-CPA also said that the public opinion poll was not conducted ‘to predict who will win/lose the Jaffna MC elections but to assess the residents' optimism/pessimism about their future, political interest and their views on the MC elections’.

Asked for whom they intend to vote at the elections, 44.7% of the voting-respondents simply said ‘Not Decided’. 23.8% said they will vote for UPFA (consisting of SLFP & alliance of Tamil parties), 7.3% for ITAK/TNA, 1% for TULF and only 0.4% for the UNP. In the elections aftermath, UPFA with an alliance of Tamil parties won 13 seats out of 23 (bagging 10,602 votes) while the TNA won eight seats (with 8,008 votes). The TULF and an independent group won one seat each. 38.3% said that their present economic condition has ‘not changed’ compared to a year ago but 24.9% said it ‘improved’. 38.4% said ‘no change in their quality of life’ but 22.7% said it improved. 56.4% said that they are aware of the candidates contesting in the MC elections but 28.5% said they have no awareness at all. 44% feel that in the next three years their quality of life will ‘become better’ while 36.5% said they ‘do not know’.

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- Asian Tribune -

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