A recent internet poll conducted by the PINK Report indicates that Prime Minister Bruce Golding continues to enjoy the support of 40% of the island’s Gay and Lesbian Population. Owing to the small number of respondents, the poll cannot be deemed representative of the views of the community nor does it indicate the demographic break down of supporters. However, it does represent a first attempt at tracking the political opinions of members of the Gay and Lesbian community.
Significantly, if the poll numbers are read as being analogous or indicative of an approval rating, Golding enjoys a higher approval rating among the Gay and Lesbian population than the general population. A recent, CVM/Don Anderson poll had placed the Prime Minister’s approval ratings in the low 30s.
Jamaica’s gay and lesbian population has often been overlooked as a key voting demographic by pollsters and political parties alike, owing to legislative marginalization and incoherence as to the actual numerical composition of the group. However, a 2003 research conducted by Heather Royes: HIV/AIDS Risk Mapping Study of Men Who Have Sex With Men In Jamaica. Kingston: MOH projects that the gay male population numbers approximately 110,000 with heavy concentrations in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (inclusive of Portmore, Spanish Town and Old Harbour) and Montego Bay. Indeed, on the face of it, given the closeness of the last General Elections, the Gay Vote could determine the outcome of election results in certain key constituencies and ultimately the composition of the island’s parliament.
The Prime Minister’s relatively strong approval ratings among the Gay community come in spite of homophobic comments attributed directly to him and the bungling of the handling of the Manatt Phillips, Dudus affair. There is nothing to indicate that the results are indicative of strong partisan support for the Jamaica Labour Party within the community, however, such analysis is not all together unlikely.