Poll reveals voter uncertainty

Wednesday June 13, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
The Cook Islands Police Service headquarters building was constructed with Chinese funds and labour, but now needs major renovation. CINews election poll respondents have given the thumbs down to accepting more aid from China. 18061222 The Cook Islands Police Service headquarters building was constructed with Chinese funds and labour, but now needs major renovation. CINews election poll respondents have given the thumbs down to accepting more aid from China. 18061222

While yesterday’s poll results trumpeted Tina Browne as the country’s preferred prime minister, perhaps a more interesting takeaway is the fact that more than a quarter of respondents were “not sure” about who they thought should lead the country.

And looking at the results for preferred political party, almost a third either didn’t support any major party or weren’t sure who they supported.

Pointing to either a high level of voter apathy or a high level of voter uncertainty (or a bit of both), this trend continued throughout almost all of the questions posed by CINews in our random phone poll conducted earlier this week.

While those against the Cook Islands continuing to accept aid from China came out strongly with 61 per cent, there were still 25 per cent who had no opinion on the issue.

It was a similar situation for a question asked on whether there is a need for political reform in the Cook Islands, with 24 per cent saying they either didn’t know or didn’t care.

And again with the issue of an annual cap on tourists – 21 per cent either didn’t know if they agreed with the idea or didn’t care.

Predictably, closer examination of the numbers reveals the trend for apathy or uncertainty seems to be skewed more towards younger voters, with 44 per cent of those under 30 unsure of their preferred prime minister, compared with only 21 per cent of those aged 60 and over, and 0 per cent of those aged 70 and over (who made up 15 per cent of total respondents).

Younger voters were also less engaged when it came to the issues surveyed by CINews as well, with 33 per cent of under-30s having no opinion on Chinese aid, compared with 14 per cent of those 60 and over.

Fifty-six percent of respondents aged under 30 also had no opinion when it came to political reform, compared with 19 per cent of those aged 60 and over.

Interestingly, younger voters seemed more engaged with the question of an annual cap on tourists, with 83 per cent having an opinion one way or another (28 per cent for, 55 per cent against).

The CINews phone poll 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% of that country’s total voter population.

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