Photo courtesy of DW

The latest polling in April by Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS) on likely voting patterns at a general election shows that the NPP/JVP maintains a lead but loses support to UNP and other parties while the SJB flatlines.

Support among likely voters for the NPP/JVP fell 8 points to 32% but it maintained an edge over the SJB whose support remained unchanged at 30%. Support seems to have gone to the UNP, which gained 3 points to 9% and other smaller parties who increased their share by 3 points to 14%.

The latest polling confirms a recovery since February in support for the UNP but mostly at the expense of the NPP/JVP and not the SJB.

The SJB continued to have an edge over the NPP/JVP in voter enthusiasm, with this reducing the NPP/JVP lead by 3% in likely voters compared with all voters.

The trends seen since late 2022 continue to indicate that most floating voters are ex-SLPP voters, who continue to swing between the NPP/JVP and UNP.

Dr Ravi Rannan-Eliya, SLOTS lead investigator and IHP Executive Director, commented that the April polling confirms that the UNP has likely benefited from the recent IMF agreement but largely at the expense of the NPP/JVP.

He also said that the stability of SJB support over the past year suggests it has a core support of loyal voters who account for one in four of the electorate but that the SJB seems to be finding it difficult to expand its support beyond that.

SLOTS combines interviews from a national sample of adults (ages 18 and over) reached by random digit dialling of mobile numbers, and others coming from a national panel of respondents who were previously recruited through random selection. IHP estimates voting intent using an adaptation of Multilevel Regression and Post-Stratification (MRP), with multiple imputation to account for uncertainties in its modelling, exploiting data from all SLOTS interviews to estimate voting in a particular month.

The April 2023 MRP estimates are based on 580 interviews conducted in April 2023, and 11,368 interviews conducted overall from 31 August 2021–19 May 2023, with a margin of error assessed as 4–5% for the NPP/JVP, SJB, UNP and SLFP, and 1–3% for the other parties.