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Poll says ULP likely to form office for a fourth term

Poll says ULP likely to form office for a fourth term

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The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) is likely to form government for a fourth successive term following next Wednesday’s general elections, according to an opinion poll released earlier this week.

The poll, conducted by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services Inc (CADRES), indicates that 43 per cent of the respondents said they intend to vote for the ULP, {{more}}while 28 per cent said they will vote for the New Democratic Party (NDP) and 29 per cent of respondents were either unsure of their voting intentions or preferred not to say.

“On previous occasions, CADRES has successfully estimated where this “Uncertain Support” is likely to fall, based on the electoral history of St Vincent and our formula projects a likely national swing of +5 per cent in favour of the ULP, with a commensurate deterioration in the fortunes of the NDP. On this present track therefore the ULP is likely to emerge victorious on the 9th of December 2015,” a release from CADRES director Peter Wickham stated.

He, however, said that it should be noted that this projection is based on stated voter intentions over the weekend of November 20, when the poll was conducted, which could be modified (in either direction) in the remaining days before voting.

Wickham also said in his opinion, the phone sex recordings that were released on November 8 will have no impact on the elections as, “If you look at the polls done in November after the tapes and the ones done … before the tapes, there is no significant change.”

When SEARCHLIGHT asked him about the 29 per cent of voters who have not yet made up their minds, Wickham said that St Vincent usually records the lowest percentage of persons who are undecided, as in other countries, polls of this nature usually show between 40 per cent and 45 per cent undecided and historically, this favours the ULP.

“…so basically, the ULP is going to do a fourth term,” said Wickham, who added that no polls were conducted in the Grenadines, as it is expensive to do so, while in reality the NDP will not lose either the Northern or Southern Grenadines seat as the results have to show a 13 per cent swing towards the ULP in the Southern Grenadines and a 31 per cent swing away from the NDP in the Northern Grenadines if those seats were to change hands, “and that is unrealistic.”

The latest poll, which was commissioned by the ULP, was conducted among the age groups 18 to 30, 31 to 50 and 51 and over.

The poll was conducted by way of face-to-face interviews with approximately 800 persons spread evenly across the 13 mainland constituencies. Wickham said that the interviews were carried out on 800 different households and questions were asked of one person in each of the 800 households visited. Polls are only done at private addresses and not in public places or in areas where people congregate.

“The popularity of the two potential leaders was explored on this occasion by way of a direct question asking respondents which individual they would prefer to be led by and some 61 per cent expressed a preference for Prime Minister Gonsalves, while 37 per cent preferred Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, while 2 per cent preferred other individuals.”

Wickham said that in looking at the results, it should be noted that this assessment is consistent with the previous (unpublished) CADRES survey conducted in October 2015, just before the election date was announced.

“It is also noteworthy that in 2010 CADRES released a pre-election survey for St Vincent where Prime Minister Gonsalves was preferred by 52 per cent of Vincentians and Mr. Eustace 36 per cent,” noted Wickham in a release.

The ULP went on to win the 2010 election by eight seats to seven.

In 2010, CADRES’ pre-election poll projected a swing of -3 per cent against the ULP, but that the ULP would nonetheless retain office and on that occasion there was a decline of -3.4 per cent in the fortunes of the ULP.

Prior to the 2010 elections, the ULP held 12 seats to the NDP’s three, but lost four seats then, winning by just one seat.

Wickham said his polls have a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent, with actual results usually falling within the two to three per cent range.