By Nasik Swami
The Fiji Times. Saturday, March 11, 2017
AN independent national poll conducted last month revealed that the biggest issues in the 2018 General Election will be cost of living and employment.
Cost of living in Fiji was ranked the number one issue by 46 per cent of those polled, followed by employment with 32 per cent of those polled.
The Tebbutt-Times poll was conducted from February 4-7 by internationally-accredited world standard market researcher, Tebbutt Research, from a random national sample of 1001 adults 18 years and over.
Those interviewed were asked the question: “Looking forward to the 2018 elections, what do you think the top three election issues will be?”
The results showed tremendous uniformity across the nation on this question, with the top two answers being the same across all demographic measures – gender, age, ethnicity, urban/rural and division.
According to the poll, wages (21 per cent), infrastructure/development (21 per cent) and poverty (20 per cent) round out the top five responses across all people, and almost all demographics measured had the same responses in their top five.
The only exceptions were noted from women where crime was ranked higher than wages and for other ethnicities, good governance ranked fourth, pushing poverty out of the top five.
For those aged 45 years and over, education replaced wages in the number five spot and for those in the Northern/Eastern divisions, land issues ranked high, pushing wages to a lower position.
According to the poll, each of the top five responses were named by at least one in five people. Other answers given as part of the top issues included education (15 per cent), crime (12 per cent), and land issues (12 per cent).
Significant demographic differences were seen for land issues (mentioned twice as frequently by rural respondents than those in urban locations), political stability (7.3 per cent of iTaukei vs 1.8 per cent for Fijians of Indian descent), and jobs (40 per cent for those 18-29 years compared with 23 per cent for those aged 45 and over).
While the majority of people provided three answers, 15 per cent were unsure what the issues would be, and two per cent declined to answer.