Editorial comment – Top election issues

Voters queue up at the Draiba Primary School polling station in Suva during 2014 General Election. Picture: FILE/ATU RASEA

Personal wealth, land issues and crime rate quite highly on the minds of Fijians leading up to the 2018 election, the Tebbutt-Times poll has revealed.

When people were asked their views on the three biggest issues going into the election, the top responses were around these three. Personal wealth relates to cost of living, unemployment and poverty.

The survey, conducted on October 21-24, discovered more than half of those polled mentioned cost of living or wages as being very important for them. Surveyed people were allowed to answer freely with up to three responses.

The results showed that 81 per cent gave an answer related to wealth (51 per cent mentioned cost of living, 39 per cent unemployment or jobs, and 34 per cent named poverty as one of the biggest issues). Forty-five per cent gave a response related to land use (30 per cent land issues, 20 per cent farming or rural development).

Crime was highlighted by 32 per cent of people, followed by the economy (27 per cent), education (27 per cent), and health (13 per cent). The next biggest issue — infrastructure (including roads, transport, power and water) — was mentioned by only 3 per cent.

The survey suggested these issues cut right across all segments of society, and there was little difference in the responses by any demographic.

These are the biggest election issues picked up by the survey.

They offer political parties an opportunity to understand the pulse of the nation so to speak.

This is an opportunity for aspiring candidates to embrace the message coming from the masses.

As the countdown continues to the 2018 National Election, the onus is on the voter to be aware of the various manifestos on offer and how they will impact their lives.

Parties have a challenge to embrace the voter, and convince them to join them.

Obviously the large percentage of undecided voters will make a difference in this month’s election.

They will have weight that every party wants to carry.

Clearly these undecided voters want something to hang on to, and that is just enough to swing their vote.

It will be interesting to see how the various parties focus attention on winning that undecided vote.

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