Despite this, the Cook Islands Party (CIP) is still the country’s preferred party to govern, albeit by a margin of just two per cent.
Twenty-nine per cent of respondents selected Tina Browne as their preferred prime minister, compared to 22 per cent for current PM Henry Puna.
Perhaps more notably, 28 per cent of respondents said they were “not sure” who they would prefer to see leading the country.
One Cook Islands (OCI) candidate George Maggie gained nine per cent, while 12 per cent of respondents said someone else entirely should be running the country, with suggestions including current finance minister Mark Brown and OCI leader Teina Bishop.
In the preferred party poll results, 32 per cent said they preferred CIP, 30 per cent selected the Demos, and seven per cent OCI. Sixteen per cent said they weren’t sure who they supported, while 15 per cent said none of the major parties appealed to them.
Asked what they think the most pressing issue facing the country leading into the election is, 22 per cent said financial mismanagement/corruption, 21 per cent said health and 20 per cent said roading.
The environment was the main concern for 11 per cent of respondents, while 13 per cent suggested a variety of other more pressing concerns, including Chinese aid and banking. Six per cent picked multiple issues they saw as important, including senior citizens and the minimum wage as well as all of those previously mentioned. Seven per cent said they weren’t sure what the most important issue was.
In other poll results, when asked if they thought the Cook Islands should keep accepting aid from China, 61 per cent of those surveyed said no, compared to 14 per cent for yes. Twenty-five per cent said they didn’t know or didn’t care.
When asked if they thought there is a need for political reform, 63 per cent of respondents said yes, while just 13 per cent said no. Twenty-four per cent didn’t know or didn’t care.
And on the question of whether the Cook Islands should put a cap on the number of tourists visiting each year, 50 per cent said no, 29 per cent said yes, and 21 per cent didn’t know or didn’t care.
The CINews phone poll was conducted over the past week and surveyed 100 randomly selected Cook Islands residents of voting age from around Rarotonga and the outer islands.
The survey’s sample size represents just under one per cent of the total Cook Islands voter population of 10,315 people.
By way of comparison, equivalent New Zealand polls typically survey around 1000 people, or less than 0.03 per cent of that country’s total voter population.
A further breakdown of the poll results will be in tomorrow’s edition of CINews.