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The Confused Electorate - A Study of Political Attitudes and Opinions in Trinidad and Tobago


Selwyn Ryan , Eddie Greene , Jack Harewood


The Confused Electorate is one of a number of studies being published by the I.S.E.R. which, using survey data, attempt to provide an empirical dimension to the generalizations which are made about Caribbean political behaviour. Others in the series include Carl Stone's Class, Race and Political Behaviour in Urban Jamaica, Electoral Behaviour and Public Opinion in Jamaica and Eddie Greene's Race Vs Class in Guyana.

The Confused Electorate is the result of a national opinion survey which was conducted prior to the critical 1976 General Elections in Trinidad and Tobago. The survey attempted to find out how people intended to vote and for what reason, which party they expected to win and why, and which of the various political leaders they preferred to see as Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition.

It also tried to find out what were the issues which were bothering people most, which party (if any) they felt could best deal with them, whether people wanted more or less nationalisation, whether they thought that life was better or worse in Trinidad and than it was ten years ago, whether they approved of the performance of Dr. Williams as Prime Minister, whether they felt that the People's National Movement had been a force for good or otherwise and why it had been able to survive as the government for the past twenty years.

A number of questions also tried to determine the extent to which racial attitudes still persisted in the areas of marriage and employment, what sort of jobs people respected most, which Trinidadian and Caribbean public figures were thought most highly of, whether Trinidad and Tobago should forge closer ties with Cuba and other Caribbean states, and the level of public information about parliament and the constitution.

A group of questions also sought to find out what citizens thought about the police, politicians, violence as a strategy for political change, the Privy Council, worker participation and socialism, signing of undated letters of resignation from parliament and about the effectiveness of citizen involvement in the political process.







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