Taken from “ Democracy and
Clientelism in Jamaica” by Carl Stone pp 139-157
pattern of party voting in Jamaica represents a deceptively complex, stable,
and predictable trend of electoral choices. The factors that influence these
trends are many, but the more important ones can be isolated and disentangled
to establish the precise lines of causal influences that shape the Jamaican
studies1 of voting in Jamaica have established certain patterns of
class and demographic influences as well as regional parish traditions as
factors affecting voting behavior. These studies have focused mainly on single
elections or party sentiments at single points in time. As a consequence, they
lack an adequate treatment of how these class, regional, and demographic factors
affect the movement of the vote over the cycles of electoral change that have
taken place since the 1940s.
addition, the precise relationship and overlap between class, urban-rural
patterns and local or regional party voting traditions in Jamaica have yet to be
established empirically. This is especially important given the fact that there
is a close association between class and urbanization and because regional
parish voting trends are also influenced by class and demographic factors.
recent study2 by the author attempted a new point of departure by
focusing on community voting patterns. The emphasis is justified partly on the
grounds that there are strong local level agencies of political socialization
which function to maintain stability in the level of party voting. These include
community and neighborhood pressures and community influentials; the high
levels of illiteracy in the society which filter information and ideas through
“word of mouth” or face to face communication networks that are controlled
by local opinion leaders; the strength of local peer group influences on
individual behavior patterns in an essentially small scale and closely knit
society; and the high level of unemployment and own-account trading activities,
both of which result in a large proportion of the community being at home or in
the neighborhood most of the time. In addition to factors that help to channel
local influences on the political and party predispositions of the family or
individual voter, two other important factors have to be taken into account. The
first concerns the extent to which many local communities have an explicit sense
of political territory and a complementing identity with one or the other of the
two political parties. The second factor which reinforces the first is that violence
and intimidation are liberally used in the more politicized urban communities to
limit the organizational penetration by opposing party activists and to coerce
the more independent voters into supporting the dominant local party. The open
use of violence in party activities has
considerably in recent years due to the involvement of large sections of the
violent “Iumpen” class in mercenary activities on behalf of the two parties.
In addition, some very committed activists in many urban poor areas also belong
to the parasitic sector that lives by crime and violence.
a consequence of these stabilizing factors on the vote, approximately fifty
percent of the communities in the twelve more rural parishes have strong voting
tendencies towards one of the political parties and another thirty percent show
similar but weaker party preferences. The remaining twenty percent of
communities show no decisive or clear pattern favoring one of the two parties.
In the Kingston and St. Andrew metropolitan area, party voting trends have been
less stable than in the rural parishes, but a similar trend of concentration of
communities with strong party voting tendencies in either a J.L.P. or a P.N.P.
direction also exists.
twelve more rural parishes and the two parishes making up the metropolitan
area of the island can be divided into three main types of communities. These
include, first, urban concentrations with at least a population size of 5,000
residents. Second, there are the “main road” communities that are located
close to the main highways that connect the major population, production and
commercial centers of the island. Third, there are the more remote rural and
mainly hillside districts.
remote districts (much of which tend to fall in the traditional interior zones
of hillside peasant farming) have a large concentration of small farmers and
agricultural workers as their main class component, a minority of manual
nonagricultural labor and very few nonmanual workers. In all these communities,
the electorate reflects a numerical predominance of small-scale agriculturals as
a defined set of class interests embracing the interconnected groupings of small
peasant farmers, the rural poor, and landless wage labor. The following data in
Table 7.1 (summarized from voters’ lists for a sample3 of the more
remote communities in three parishes) illustrate the pattern of small-scale
agricultural strength in the local electorate. In these areas there is a
predominance of small-scale agricultural class interests.
second category, “main road areas,” is a much more heterogeneous grouping of
communities. Essentially they lie within easy reach of the main urban centers
and therefore represent intermediary communities between “town” and
“country.” They serve as important links of communication between the more
rural and more urban regions of the island. Unlike the isolated peasant
communities, nonagricultural labor tends to be numerically larger than the
agricultural component of the local community labor force, although in several
such communities the farming sector (small, large, and medium scale) is an
important means of livelihood and source of economic activity. As a consequence,
agricultural interests (including wage labor, some small farmers, and medium and
large scale farm operators) tend to constitute a significantly large, although
not usually a majority proportion, of the local community labor force. This
pattern is illustrated by the sample of labor force distributions shown in Table
third category of urban communities consists primarily of manual wage labor and
a not insignificant minority of white-collar workers. These range from large
tourist or market towns with populations between 20,000 and 40,000 residents to
much smaller market centers. Here the division of labor is more developed,
occupations are more narrowly specialized, and trade unions have a strong
presence in the larger enterprises in the modern sector of the economy. The
infrastructure of commerce and administration is obviously most developed in the
urban centers which means that there is a relatively larger component of service
and government workers among wage labor than in the more rural communities. The
larger urban areas are stratified into well-defined neighborhood districts and
communities, many of which have a distinct class component. These patterns of
class differentiation of local urban communities therefore allow for a
separate measurement of urban vote patterns as a whole as against the vote
trends for specific “class communities” which correspond approximately to
the categories of class groupings developed in chapter one.
7.3 illustrates, from a sample6 of polling divisions, the occupations
spread of the labor force in the urbanized areas in three of the more rural
parishes. In these urban centers, the residential pattern is not as sharply
stratified by large blocks of class homogeneous communities as is the Kingston
and St. Andrew metropolitan area. Analysis of the class patterns of voting
within the urban communities will therefore be confined to the metropolitan area of the
analysis of class voting patterns relied entirely on occupational criteria by
which to classify and rank urban metropolitan communities on
class scale. The data presented in chapter one raises some doubts about the
precision of an entirely occupational classification of class-communities given
the overlap of income categories and living standards among manual occupations.
In spite of the overall correlation between the occupational hierarchy, income,
and living standards, it would seem that criteria of classification that measure
more directly the poverty and levels of living among the urban communities would
provide a more precise classification of class categories for the respective
urban metropolitan communities. The criteria used will therefore be a
composite index7 of overcrowding and unemployment levels. The index
was used to construct the following seven point objective scale of
class-communities made up of clusters of polling divisions that lie within the
larger areas of districts listed in Table 7.4. These clusters of polling
divisions all represent local neighborhoods in the larger communities.
examining the relationship between class and voting in the urban metropolitan
area, only the last three elections were included (1967, 1972, and 1976) due to
the extensive internal migration which changes the class composition of the
local communities over periods of time. This is especially so as the period
between the 1950s and l970s was a period of extensive middle- and
lower-middle-class housing expansion8 that affected all classes.
Government low—income housing also created new communities over the period. In
the case of the twelve more rural parishes a more stable class community pattern
permits an examination o a wider spread of elections over time and this will
include the five elections between 1959 and 1976.
7.5a sets out the average vote for the two parties in the three main types of
peasant, main road, and urban communities in the twelve more
Groupings of Class Communities Based on Poverty Index
(1) Very poor working class communities
Hannah Town, Rennock Lodge Seaward
Pen, Down Town West, Down Town East,
Rae Town, Down Town Central, Denbam
Town, Greenwich Town, Cockburn
Gardens, Trench Town, Jones Town,
August Town, Cassava Piece, Majesty
Pen, Waterhouse, cedar Valley.
(2) Poor working class communities
Allman Town, Fletcher’s Land, Franklyn
Town, Campbell Town, Bay Farm, Whit-
field Town, Mountain View Avenue,
Whitehall, Hope Tavern, Grants Pen,
Woodford Park, Tivoli Gardens.
(3) Better off working class communities
Newton Square, Springfield, Bournemouth, Rollington Town.
middle class communities
Washington Gardens, Molynes Gardens, Vineyard Town, Zaidie Gardens,
Norman Gardens, Harbour View,
(5) Middle class communities
Arcadia, Mona Heights, East Kings House, Trafalgar Park, Hope
(6) Upper middle class communities
Billy Dunn, Cherry Gardens, Long Lena, Barbican Heights.
The actual differences between the community areas as
regards the party shares of the vote are not very large but they follow a
predictable pattern. The rank order of party strength between the three types of
areas has been similar for all three elections. For the J.L.P., the peasant
community vote is always the largest proportion followed by the main road
communities, with the urban community vote being always the smallest J.L.P. vote
proportion. The order is, of course, reversed for the P.N.P. with the urban
Party Vote by Area for Twelve Rural Parishes IN %
Communities 1959 1962 1967 1972 1976
The size of the differences in the party vote
proportions for the three community types is, however, mainly less than ten
percent between the highest and lowest party vote proportions. Although the
differences are predictable, they suggest a high level of overall national
uniformity in the vote and small margins of majorities between the parties in
the responsive communities. This apparent uniformity may well be a product of
the cancelling effect of an even spread of strong J.L.P. and P.N.P.
communities which disguises party vote concentrations at the community level. It
is therefore necessary to examine the actual distribution of party tendencies
within the respective community types.
analysis of the spread of party vote tendencies among the three types of
communities indicates that in the small peasant and main road communities
between fifty to fifty-five percent of the communities have strong party vote
tendencies amounting to twenty percent, or larger vote margins for one of the
parties. The remaining forty-five to fifty percent of these more rural
communities have weak partisan preferences with vote margins between ten and
nineteen percent, or no clear partisan tendency indicated by party vote margins
of less than ten percent. The relatively even and seemingly uniform spread of
party strength in the various communities as a whole is due partly to the
cancelling effect of concentrated J.L.P. and P.N.P. strength in half of the
communities, but also is attributable to the small vote majorities held by the
two parties in the other half of the communities in the twelve more rural
the urban communities, the party vote pattern is somewhat more concentrated
with approximately sixty percent of the communities showing a strong party
tendency primarily in the direction of the P.N.P. but with a minority having a
strong J.L.P. tendency. The remaining forty percent of urban communities show
weak party vote majorities.
The uniformity of the swing pattern and direction revealed in Table 7.5b
also reflects the evident central tendencies and national pattern that characterize
the electorate and underlies and qualifies the class and community differences
that exist in voting trends. The realigning elections (1962, 1972) reveal a
uniform large swing for the winning party for the three types of communities
that unseated governing parties. The stabilizing elections (1967, 1976) also
show an equally uniform swing pattern favoring the opposition party but not
large enough to affect the balance of seats.
The vote competitiveness index
in Table 7.5c is based on the ratio between the size of party vote swings and
the size of the respective vote safety margins (or the margins necessary to
preserve a vote majority for the leading party). Any index of less than one
means the average size of swings are larger than the average safety margin,
which implies that party majorities on average are vulnerable to change from
one party to another. Indices of greater than one are safe from the threat of
average vote swings.
indices shown in Table 7.5c confirm the high level of competitiveness in the
small peasant and main road communities. By contrast, the party majorities in
the urban communities dominated by the P.N.P. are
% Comuetitiveness Index
Main Road Communities
political sociological basis of the greater competitiveness of the rural vote
rests on four important factors. First, the rural areas receive a
disproportionately smaller share of public expenditure and infrastructural
development due to the greater political influences of the urban classes. More
importantly, the urban areas represent the nerve centers of local and central
government. Second, in the channels of patron-broker-client relationships that
develop, all governing parties tend to integrate more extensively into urban
networks as against rural networks that tend to get left behind in the
center-periphery, town and country biases that characterize the party system.
middle-class party leaders, including elected representatives from rural areas,
tend to become absorbed into bureaucratic tasks and professional jobs that
pull them to the urban nerve centers of commerce, production, and
administration. This process of urban encapsulation develops communication and
credibility gaps between rural elected representatives and their main road and
small peasant constituents that heighten alienation against incumbent
parliamentarians. Rural based parliamentary seats are therefore more vulnerable
than urban seats to opposition party challenges at the polls. Fourth, rural
communities are not as easily dominated by violence-prone local party machines
that intimidate urban voters in many poor areas and establish hegemony over
well-defined political territory. Voting is therefore more free from
local-community party terrorism although the difference is one of degree rather
than kind as the rural areas have become more and more subject to political
predictability, and an underlying central tendency limiting the evident
differences in party vote strength in the three types of communities are clearly
the major features of the vote patterns revealed. In the light of the earlier
discussion of party traditions between the parishes which divide between P.N.P.,
J.L.P., marginal and unstable tendencies, it is necessary to analyze the vote
pattern of the three community types in these divergent parish environments.
This is necessary to distinguish the effect of parish traditions on the vote
from the effect of the community types, and to control for the fact that
parish influences may be obscuring or disguising some of the vote differences
between the three community types.
Table 7.5a makes very clear, the differences between P.N.P. and J.L.P. strength
in the small peasant communities, the urban communities and the main road
communities are consistent and predictable but they are very small. The question
that must now be posed is whether a control for types of parishes (P.N.P., J.L.P.,
marginal, and unstable) would show up larger differences for some parish types
as against others. The other related question posed is whether the apparent
consistent differences between the party vote strength of the respective
community types is not influenced and perhaps exaggerated by the fact that some
community types tend to be more heavily concentrated in some parishes so that
the parish party traditions may influence the findings on community party
7.6 separates the four parish types (P.N.P., J.L.P., unstable, and marginal) in
which the class communities are located and distinguishes the parish type
locations for each grouping of small peasant, main road, and urban communities.
Only in the P.N.P. and marginal parishes does the rank order of party vote
strength for the P.N.P. conform to the national pattern of urban communities
having the largest vote proportions, followed by main road and small peasant
communities, in that order. Without exception, however, in each of the five
elections in all four types of parishes, the P.N.P.’s vote proportion is
highest and conversely the J.L.P.’s vote proportional is lowest in the urban
communities as against the rural and main road communities. The differences are
consistent, but nevertheless, relatively small. In this respect, the voting
pattern of the communities revealed in the grouping b-y parish types is not
fundamentally dissimilar to that reflected in the earlier data on the overall
comparison of the 1959 P.N.P.
vote margins with those of 1976 in P.N.P. parishes reveals some important
changes and trends in relative party strength between the earlier and the later
periods of P.N.P. ascendancy. In all three categories of P.N.P. communities,
there is a five to seven percent decline in the P.N.P. share of the vote. On the
other hand, P.N.P. vote strength has increased in all types of communities over
the same period in the unstable, marginal, and J.L.P. parishes. This pattern
could be interpreted to suggest a declining trend in the differences in relative
party strength between the four main types of parishes. The time period is, however,
much too short to arrive at any definitive conclusions about the trends.
trend is further confirmed in Table 7.6 which compares the size of community
party vote differences (controlling for parish effects) with those attributable
to parish voting traditions. The differences in P.N.P. vote proportions shown in
Table 7.6 between J.L.P. and P.N.P. parish communities of similar community type
reflect the impact of parish party vote traditions, while the differences
between urban and rural communities (shown separately for J.L.P. and P.N.P.
parishes) reflect the impact of the class-community differences. The differences
due to parish party traditions were large up to the 1967 election but they
have declined substantially thereafter in 1972 and 1976. On the other hand, the
differences due to class-community factors have been modest in size though
consistent in pattern. This points tentatively to a growing trend towards
declining parish regionalism in the party patterns and to an increasing
central and uniform tendency in voting preferences throughout the twelve more
rural parishes in Jamaica.
comparison of the P.N.P. proportion of the vote in the periods of J.L.P.
ascendency also reveals some interesting findings which point to the strength of
the competitiveness of the Jamaican two-party vote. In the J.L.P. parishes and
the unstable parishes, the J.L.P. established large majorities over the P.N.P.
during periods of J.L.P. ascendency in the small peasant and main road
communities. In the P.N. P. periods of ascendency, small margins divide the
J.L.P. and P.N.P. majorities in the small peasant and main road communities in
the J.L.P. and unstable parishes. In contrast, the urban community party vote
margins tend to generate majorities for the winning party in the J.L.P. and
unstable parishes. The similarity between the J.L.P. and the unstable parishes
is based on the fact that the latter were J.L.P. parishes, which
have shifted to P.N.P. dominance in the l970s.
the marginal parishes, the small peasant party vote consistently yields small
majorities for the winning party, regardless of which party is in the ascendency.
The main road vote in these parishes, on the other hand, always generates P.N.P.
majorities with the size of the majorities declining to insignificance during
the J.L.P. periods of ascendency.
road and urban communities in the P.N.P. parishes, always yield appreciable
P.N.P. vote majorities regardless of which party is in ascendency. In contrast,
P.N.P. majorities in the small peasant areas decline to very small margins in
the periods of J.L.P. ascendency.
entire picture of the party vote in these twelve more rural parishes adds up to
a dynamic pattern of competitive two-party voting that is stable and predictable
and is built around interelection swings in two-party strength that are
relatively large compared to the modest size of the party majorities at the
a region of the country consistently producing P.N.P. majorities since the 1949
election, the parishes of the Kingston and St. Andrew play a central role in
Jamaican electoral politics with their large population of 547.6 thousand
residents in 1970, representing approximately thirty percent of the island’s
population. Table 7.7 sets out the pattern of two-party voting in these parishes
since the first universal adult suffrage election in 1944. Although P.N.P.
majorities have not been consistently large they have been unbroken between 1949
and 1976 for both parishes, with 1976 being the largest P.N.P. vote margin ever
attained in the overall metropolitan area vote.
Voting in Kingston and St. Andrew (1944-1976)
Share of Popular Vote
PNP 35 61 56 62 57 51 54 61
JLP 58 39 37 38 42 49 46 39
PNP 32 50 53 56 55 53 62 64
JLP 49 48 45 44 41 47 38 36
parishes which form part of a single Municipal Government Authority consist
primarily of an urban and suburban metropolitan area surrounded by a small rural
farm population in the hilly interior of St. Andrew. As is evident from Table
7.8, the Kingston and St. Andrew parishes are fairly typical of the
superiority of P.N.P. over J.L.P. voting strength in the major urban centers of
the country. Montego Bay in the parish of St. James and Savannah-la-Mar in the
parish of Westmoreland, are however, more consistent and stronger P.N.P.
strongholds than the Kingston and St. Andrew capital city. If indeed the country
were to follow this urban voting pattern, Jamaica would be operating a one-party
dominant system controlled by a P.N.P. monopoly of state power rather than a
delicately balanced two-party system.
overall party vote strength in the Kingston and St. Andrew area suggests a
pattern of stability and predictability similar to the vote trends in the more
rural parishes. However, this is clearly not the case as can be seen from the
voting trends of the respective socio-economic communities discussed earlier
and presented in Table 7.9. All socio-economic areas excluding the poor
working class and the hillside peasant communities reflect very high levels of
vote instability at varying points in time. These large fluctuations in the
party vote pattern have a compensating or cancelling out effect that presents
the appearance of a stable vote pattern at the aggregate level.
the urban class-communities in the metropolitan area, it is of interest that
highest levels of vote instability are found among the poorest and the affluent
communities. The underlying reasons differ, however, although they relate
directly and indirectly to the phenomenon of clientelistic politics.
first important factor to be considered is that the poorest communities tend
paradoxically to follow the party in power for two quite different reasons. When
a governing party has begun to lose its grip over its majority coalition and
defections begin to occur, the poorest stratum of the urban society begin to
defect in large numbers either by withdrawing into apathy or antiparty
militancy, or by shifting support to the opposition party on its upward claim to
power. On the other hand, when a victorious party has taken over power and sets
about consolidating its clientelistic base of support, the poorest stratum of
the urban society is available for absorption and integration into tightly knit
urban patron-broker-client machines which dispense jobs, welfare, housing, and
other such benefits from the state’s resources.
the period of J.L.P. ascendency in 1967 that party had a majority among the very
poor in the metropolitan area primarily through the urban party machines of
second-level party leaders, Eddie Seaga and David Tavares who controlled the
violence-prone western Kingston and southern St. Andrew area. Predictable
defections occurred among the less tightly organized poor communities (that fall
outside of the more regimented power domains) in 1972, as the militant populist
appeal of the P.N.P. struck chords of responsiveness among the urban poor.
Between 1972 and 1976, the P.N.P. consolidated a massive majority among the
poorest socioeconomic communities by a combination of tightly knit patron-brokerclient
networks, intimidating violence at the community level, housing allocation and
reallocation, and the integration of P.N.P. socialist symbolism with the
emergent social militancy of the urban ghettoes. The margin is, however,
probably inflated by a three to five percent level of fraudulent manipulation of
the electoral process in these areas.’0
poorest working-class communities reveal a different pattern. There is a secular
trend towards P.N.P increased strength that was most likely influenced by the
more populist and militant symbolism of the P.N.P. over the period and the broad
working-class majority support for the welfarist and socialist objectives and
commitment of the P.N.P., particularly since 1974, and the preeminent popularity
of the P.N.P. party leader, Michael Manley, up to early 1977 among the majority
of the poor non-unionized working class.
better-off working class and the lower-middle-class communities have
traditionally had a one-party P.N.P. tendency since the mid l950s. This sector
of the larger working class formed the early strength of the N.W.U., the
P.N.P.’s trade union affiliate, and have warmed to the more intellectual
leadership of the traditional P.N.P. They represent that newer generation of
labor that is the cream of the skilled part of the labor force. Their political
and social attitudes incline them to middle-class aspirations for their children
and deep respect for the intellectual leadership of the P.N.P. To them the P.N.P.
represents an emphasis on education; leaders with brains and advanced education;
radical thinkers who seek to remove the barriers to upward mobility posed by the
old class structure; and respectable upper-middle-class professionals who have
the knowledge to run government properly.
interest is the fact that both the better-off working class and the
lower-middle-class communities show a significant decline in P.N.P. voting in
1976. Between 1972 and 1976 the P.N.P. vote in the better-off working-class
communities dropped by 16.5 percent while the P.N.P. vote in the
lower-middle-class communities declined by as much as 24.2 percent.
Preelection surveys suggest that the decline was due primarily to disenchantment
with P.N.P. management of the economy among the more privileged strata of the
labor force. This lower-class and upper-working class decline in P.N.P.
support in 1976 was probably influenced by the vocal antigovernment criticism of
the P.N.P. by the middle class, which serves as a reference group in some areas
for the upward mobility aspiring sections of the lower-middle class and the
aristocracy of labor. Equally important is the extent to which the trade unions
(including the N.W.U., the union affiliate of the P.N.P.), whose membership
includes a large proportion of the labor aristocracy, and the lower-middle
class have become more and more distant from a P.N.P. government whose policies
and priorities seemed concerned more with the interests of the very poor than
with the interests of the better-off strata of labor.
voting is likely to decline even further within this segment of the urban class
structure. The next election can be expected to remove all traces of the P.N.
P. one-party tendency in the aristocracy of labor that was so entrenched in the
voting pattern of the decade of the 1960s. Another important contributing factor
to this development is that the newer generation of leftists in the party do
not project images of competence, rational thinking and practical command over
policy matters in the eyes of this more literate segment of labor. These
leftists, on the contrary, are viewed by a growing section of the aristocracy of
labor as sources of intimidating but meaningless rhetoric which frightens
capitalists, thereby leading to loss of jobs and industrial insecurity and
vote pattern in the middle- and upper-middle-class communities is a clear
example of extreme voter instability. In the case of the middle-class
communities, a slender P.N.P. majority in 1967 develops into a massive P.N.P.
majority of 62.8 percent in 1972, and in turn converts to a significantly
large J.L.P. 19.6 percent majority in 1976. To a more significant extent the
instability of the party vote in these more exclusive suburban communities
reflects their “high elasticity” of response to adverse governing party
policies and policy statements.
middle-class communities traditionally yield a P.N.P. majority based on the
status factor by which the P.N.P. attracted the label of “education”,
respectability, and “brains”, and the J.L.P. that of “ignorance” and
“illiteracy” during the early preindependence period. This status factor
played an important role in the middle-class vote of the 1950s and cemented
P.N.P. party loyalties among the later generation of the middle-class voters who
came to adulthood in the 1960s. The middle-class P.N.P. vote has always,
however, been lower than the P.N.P. lower-middle-class vote.
apparent weakening of the top J.L.P. leadership in the period leading up to
the 1972 election, the allegations of government party corruption, the abuse of
power by the J.L. P. government, the increasing level of crime,~ and the
questioning of the government’s record in the area of civil rights all
produced an issue vote” which added to the normal P.N.P. middle-class vote
majority. By 1976, however, the middle class had begun to react negatively to
fears of communism, P.N.P. leftist rhetoric, uncontrolled levels of violent and
often sadistic crimes, leftist P.N.P. abuse of the middle class, increasing
levels of class antagonism that was blamed on P.N.P. party ideology, a sense of
being betrayed by the P.N.P. and its leader Michael Manley, and the increasingly
closer ties between the governing P.N.P. party and Castro’s Cuba. As a result,
the P. N. P. middle-class vote majority vanished in 1976 and the J.L.P. earned a
majority similar to the P.N.P.’s 1967 majority.
upper-middle-class communities which are more affluent and house the capitalist
class and high income managerial and professional elite behaved in similar
fashion for the same basic reasons. The main differences, being that these
more affluent communities are traditionally J.L.P. in orientation but defected
to the P.N.P. in 1972 only to return to a solid J.L.P. majority in 1976.
significance is the fact that in 1972 the swings in the vote between these class
communities were uniformly in the direction of the winning party, the P.N.P. The
central effect of divisive ideological symbols and class issues in the 1976
election was to increase the P.N.P. vote among the very poor and poor
working-class communities and to reduce the P.N.P. share of the vote in the
middle- and upper-class communities.
contrast to the more stable though competitive pattern revealed at the community
level in the twelve more rural parishes, the urban metropolitan area vote has
been shown to be volatile, unstable and responsive to central and salient issues
that realign party support among the main socioeconomic groupings. Underlying
the seemingly stable P.N.P. majorities are wildly fluctuating class voting
The peasant vote in the rural farm communities of the hilly interior of St. Andrew is indistinguishable from the rural vote in the other parishes. It is highly competitive, yielding small majorities and tends to follow quite predictably whichever party wins an election. It is essentially part of the rural sixty percent of the Jamaican electorate whose competitive voting traditions have kept the two-party system alive. While the metropolitan area vote fluctuates considerably at the local community level, the overall aggregate trend has been an uncompetitive one-party P.N.P. tendency based on the large concentration of strong P.N.P. communities. It is doubtful if many of these concentrated areas of strength will be eroded even by the economic crises of the 1970s although large swings will continue to occur.
not all the tables have been included.
Carl Stone, Electoral Behaviour and Public Opinion in Jamaica (Kingston,
Jamaica: ISER, University of the West Indies, 1974), and “The 1976
Parliamentary Election in Jamaica,”
Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative
Politics, Vol. 14, No. 2 (1976).
Carl Stone, ~Regional and Community Voting Patterns in Jamaica,” forthcoming in
Journal of Jnteramerican Studies and
World ~4/jiñrs, (November 1978).
sample includes ten polling divisions for each parish which together represents
approximately 1,500 to 2,000 voters per parish.
is used here only in a relative sense as all these communities have some contact
and communication with other communities. However, their remoteness means that
the frequency of such contacts is very low given bad roads, weak communication
channels, and distance from urban centers.
are therefore less “open” than other
community types and are more inward-looking.
sample also includes ten polling divisions per parish.
sample includes five polling divisions per parish. These pollingdivisions tend
to be twice as large in number of voters as those in the rural areas.
index is made up as follows:“% of
community households with more than four persons per room + 9~ of commu
nity labor force unemployed.”
two items were combined due to the fact that they correlated to the extent of a
.85 (Pearson R.) correlation coefficient and had mean values of approximately
similar size (19.6 and 16.3).
index was correlated with the percent of the community not exposed to secondary
level education and the result was a .88 (Pearson, R.) correlation coefficient.
The index is therefore considered to be both valid and sensitive as an indicator
of intercommunity socio-economic differences.
a discussion of housing development over the period, see Ann Norton, Shanties
and Skiscrapers: Growth and Structure of Modern Kingston
(Kingston, Jamaica: ISER, University of the West Indies, Working Paper
No. 13, 1978).
two constituencies, St. Andrew south and St. Andrew southwestern, more persons
voted than the names appearing on the voters’ lists. The level of increase in
voter registration in some polling divisions was also extraordinarily high.
Carl Stone, Electoral Behaviour and Public Opinion.