A new house
After conducting its second public opinion poll in as many weeks between last Friday and today, CADRES is predicting the DLP stands to lose as many of the 11 seats it held in Parliament to Owen Arthur’s Barbados Labour Party, and in doing so also lose the Government.
And while this latest survey found that Arthur has moved back ahead of Stuart in the preferred leadership stakes, the two are in a statistical “dead heat”.
CADRES is also now predicting a seven per cent swing toward to BLP and a six per cent swing away from the DLP, with the one per cent difference suggesting that “the independent candidates can cumulatively expect to receive one per cent of the national vote, which would directly impact on the DLP’s support base”.
Using key characteristics, namely historic support level, candidate performance in the previous election, change of candidate (incumbent or challenger) prevailing national support for party and party swing, contemporary support (poll data), CADRES has the BLP in poll position.
Pollster Peter Wickham said the BLP candidates “highly likely” to be victorious, based on the data, were Arthur (St. Peter), Mia Mottley (St. Michael North East), Cynthia Forde (St. Thomas), Dr. Maria Agard (Christ Church West), Gline Clarke (St. George North), Edmund Hinkson (St. James North), and Ronald Toppin (St. Michael North).
Additionally, the Bees “likely” to get the nod from voters were Dale Marshall (St. Joseph), George Payne (St. Andrew), Santia Bradshaw (St. Michael South East), Ian Gooding-Edghill (St. Michael West Central), Anthony Wood (St. Philip South), George Hutson (St. James Central).
In the case of the DLP, CADRES found it was “highly likely” that Mara Thompson (St. John), Michael Lashley (St. Philip North), Denis Kellman (St. Lucy), Stuart (St. Michael South), Stephen Lashley (Christ Church West Central), and Ronald Jones (Christ Church East Central), would be Members of Parliament after the election.
They were “likely” to be joined by Dr. David Estwick (St. Philip West), Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo (St. George South), Donville Inniss (St. James South) and Chris Sinckler (St. Michael North West).
Based on the above predictions, this would mean that the BLP would win 17 seats and the DLP 10, leaving an additional three marginal seats to be decided.
Using the historic, candidate, national party support and other data, however, CADRES concluded that the BLP’s Wilfred Abrahams (Christ Church East), David Gill (St. Michael South Central), and Arthur Holder (St. Michael Central) were the “possible” winners.
The best case scenario therefore meant a 20 to 10 victory for the BLP.
In what is a significant bit of good news for the BLP, this latest public opinion poll found that party appeared to have widened its lead over the DLP.
Despite predicting a clear victor for the current opposition party, Wickham said it was clear that “this will be one of the most marginal and indeed competitive campaigns ever endured in this nation’s history”.
“This marginality is evidenced by the fact that a shift of four per cent to five per cent in support over the last week has resulted in a presumptive loss of five more seats for the DLP,” the pollster said in his analysis of the polling data.
“CADRES has repeatedly made the point that this DLP Government appears strong in terms of numbers but is in reality comparatively weaker than any other first term government that the DLP has had previously.
“As such the slightest deterioration in support will have a devastating impact on seats. It is against this background that CADRES has argued that the party better organised on election day in all of the marginal constituencies has what would be called a better ‘fighting chance’ to win those ‘seats’,” he added.
Wickham also said notwithstanding the possibility of DLP “surprises” in some instances, “CADRES is at this time of the opinion that the BLP will win the 2013 election on Thursday with between 17 and 20 seats, while we believe that the DLP will occupy the Opposition benches with between 10 and 13 seats”.
CADRES has concluded that this latest public opinion survey is a more accurate measurement of the current mood of the Barbadian electorate, coming as it is after the launch of the BLP and DLP manifestos and in essence capturing “a fully evolved election campaign”.
“As such this poll in our opinion presents a far better podium from which we can assess the likely outcome of the 2013 general election. Interestingly enough the only noteworthy consideration would be the controversy created by the publication of the first poll and the significantly reduced swing against the DLP which was reported,” it said.
The survey also found that the BLP was the greater beneficiary of the past week’s campaign, with its support moving from “a statistically significant” 34 per cent to 42 per cent, while the DLP’s support moved from 32 per cent to 34 per cent.
This, the CADRES data determined, meant that DLP support “has remained fundamentally unchanged in the last week, while the BLP has been able to grow its support among the ‘Uncertain Voters'”.
Also more in the BLP’s favour following the survey was the leadership preference and calculated electoral swing.
In the space of a week Arthur has moved back to the top of the list with 37 per cent (from 33 per cent) while Stuart has declined from 36 per cent to 32 per cent, but the changes were considered “statistically insignificant”.