ALTHOUGH a survey, which documented the views of 1036 Fijians showed strong support for Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama, the coming months leading up to the election could bring changes to that statistic as political parties begin their campaigns.
The survey - carried out by independent Tebbutt Research on behalf of The Fiji Times in the urban and peri-urban areas of the Central and Western divisions - revealed that of the 1036 interviewed, 66 per cent showed overwhelming support for Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama, saying they want him as the preferred prime minister.
Following him in the poll is SODELPA leader, the Marama na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa, who recorded 8 per cent in the popularity poll.
Further down the percentage numbers are NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad, FLP's Lavinia Padarath, PDP's Felix Anthony, Ratu Epeli Ganilau and FLP's Monica Raghwan who all recorded 1 per cent, and others (support for Chaudhry, Qarase etc) accounted for 2 per cent.
The remaining percentages did not wish to say too much, 12 per cent were still unsure of their choice and 7 per cent refused to answer.
According to the survey, Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama is the preferred choice for two out of three eligible voters.
His appeal is the highest among males 18 to 34 years, and females in the 35 to 44-age bracket.
And while SODELPA has not started its political campaign proper, the survey reveals that Ro Teimumu's support is stronger among iTaukei voters (14 per cent) while she only has 1 per cent support from other ethnicities.
The poll revealed that everyone in five surveyed were undecided in regards to their preferred prime minister. While Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama and Ro Teimumu are the top two candidates on the preferred prime minister measure, respondents answered openly and could suggest any person they wished.
Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama's lead holds the majority across gender, age, and ethnic group's surveyed.
While a handful of people (19 per cent) remain undecided on who they want to be the prime minister, it will be interesting to see who gets the support of these people, hence a possible shift in these statistics may well be in store.
The survey also indicated the undecided lot gave responses without naming individuals but said they would prefer an "individual", "a woman" or "someone who cares for the people".
The survey also brought to the fore their biggest concern - unemployment. This was one of the right issues those surveyed highlighted as the biggest national concern.
The Fiji Times will reveal more details on these issues next Saturday.
With all this information, it is, however, imperative to remember that the survey result is a only a snapshot.
It must be realised that there are two important factors which accompany these results - many political parties have yet to begin their campaigns and these are the views of 1036 people out of Fiji's 880,000-plus population.
And gauging the views of some political parties, they expect the statistics to change as many claim the Prime Minister had a lot of media support, which resulted in him having the vast majority at this stage.
The poll will continue in the lead-up to the September 17 general election and updated results would be published on a monthly basis.
So, whether or not you wish to take these to heart, or with a pinch of salt, is up to you.