by Shawn Cumberbatch
The political tide has turned against the ruling Democratic Labour Party, with a majority of Barbadians ready to change their Government after just one term.
And were a general election to be held now, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s administration could lose as many as 10 of its seats in the House of Assembly based on the projected seven per cent swing towards the Opposition Barbados Labour Party.
These are among the primary findings of a CADRES public opinion poll commissioned by Barbados TODAY, in which the electorate has also said that the next general election is “overdue”.
At the time of being surveyed, a “clear majority” of Barbados, 39 per cent, now believe that the Barbados Labour Party would be returned to government if the election was held now.
Of the 1,080 individuals surveyed via face to face interviews in all 30 constituencies between Friday and yesterday, a majority of 47 per cent said “yes” when asked if they thought it was time for a change, while 23 per cent said they were “unsure/won’t say”, and the remaining 30 per cent said “no”.
“Respondents were asked to identify the party they would vote for and it can be seen that the BLP attracted the support of 35 per cent of committed voters polled, while the DLP secured the support of 25 per cent of respondents. Less than one per cent of respondents expressed interest in PEP, while a total of 40 per cent of respondents were unwilling to respond to the political question,” CADRES found.
On the anniversary of the DLP’s five years in office, the survey also found 59 per cent of all Barbadians believing that elections “are now overdue”.
Asked for his analysis on the implications of the latest survey, CADRES Director told Barbados TODAY: “Clearly the DLP, if elections were called now, would lose – there would be a change of government. I don’t think that is really surprising to anyone,” he said.
“What is interesting overall is that it is suggesting that the BLP, if there was an election, would be essentially as strong as the DLP was when it won, so we are basically looking at a gain of about 10 seats.
“My main concern, my main issue, is the comparative, and looking at the development and the situation last year which was a six per cent swing, the situation now is a seven per cent swing which essentially is the same thing, suggesting that there was not a lot of movement, certainly not the amount of movement that we expected.
“My feeling is that in the time we have seen support for the DLP grow and then fall, and I do feel that the critical thing is that the DLP has lost the ground that it gained late last year mainly due to the fact that it is in a last minute situation,” Wickham added.
The political scientist also said Barbados TODAY readers could also anticipate the release of additional data quantifying a change in the leadership ratings of individuals, including Stuart, Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, St. Michael North East MP Mia Mottley, and St. Michael North West Representative Chris Sinckler.
He also said he found interesting that in just one term the DLP was facing the same swing, this time against it, that it benefitted from when the BLP lost the 2008 general election.
“In five years there has been a compete reversal in the other direction and that is interesting because I don’t think we have ever had this type of reversal before,” he said.
“The leadership numbers have changed and they have changed in a way that I find fascinating and there are changes in the leadership numbers that I think readers can anticipate. I think that is the most significant thing in the poll.”
The CADRES poll also found that while the large number of uncommitted support makes it difficult to project the likely outcome of the next election, the projecting tool it developed, and which “relies on the historic support for both political parties and combines this with the data recorded in this survey”, suggested that the seven per cent swing against the DLP “is sufficient to remove the DLP from office”.
The CADRES survey was designed by Wickham and managed by CADRES Research Consultant, Kristen C. Hinds, who supervised a team of 30 interviewers. email@example.com