BASSETERRE, St. Kitts-Nevis, January 31, 2020 (CMC) – One week after the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) predicted that the ruling Team Unity administration would, most likely, win the next general elections, here, another regionally-based pollster is pouring could water on that prediction.
“Overall, I am projecting that Labour is ahead in seven seats. They are having real challenges in two seats, and two seats are up for grabs,” said Bill Johnson, of the Jamaica-based Johnson’s Survey Research Limited Inc. that had accurately predicted the defeat of the then-ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) in the 2015 general election.
Speaking on a radio program, here, on Wednesday, Johnson also disagreed with the findings of the CADRES poll that found most voters preferred Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, over the Opposition Leader, Dr. Denzil Douglas.
He said in six of the eight constituencies, “Dr Douglas has a decided lead, over who they want as prime minister, and who would make the best prime minister”.
CADRES said that its poll, conducted in the twin-island federation last October, comes ahead of the fifth anniversary of the last general election that was held on February 16, 2015, when Prime Minister Harris led the coalition Team Unity to victory over Douglas’ SKNLP.
The Barbados-based based pollsters, which enjoy an impressive record in the Caribbean, said that as in 2018, when people were asked which political party in the Federation they believed had the best chance of winning a majority of seats, “Team Unity continued to be the coalition that most persons believed would emerge victorious.
“On this occasion, some 48 percent of Kittitians and Nevisians believed Team Unity would win, while 26 percent thought the Labour/NRP (Nevis Reformation Party) Coalition would win and 24 percent were unsure. In this regard, it is significant that while 86 percent of Team Unity supporters believed that Team Unity would win, 70 percent of Labour/NRP supporters thought that Labour/NRP would win and the uncommitted votes were more inclined to envisage a Team Unity victory,” CADRES added.
It said the actual expression of voter preference on this occasion was: 43 percent for Team Unity; 32 percent for Labour NRP; and 24 percent, uncommitted, with one percent opting for another party/independent candidate.
But Johnson told radio listeners that his poll has found that the SKNLP “continues to be significantly in the lead”, and that voters are concerned about allegations that the government has been paying criminals, in a bid to lessen the crime situation in the twin-island country.
He said while “crime is no longer a hot button issue, as it was in previous polls, what’s coming up is this whole issue of paying criminals. The people were concerned about crime, now, more and more, they are concerned about trying to bribe the criminals and paying for peace”.
“Other issues of concern are jobs. The issue, quite candidly, is the perception of how the prime minister is just in it for himself and his family. Twenty percent of the people, regardless of constituency that we polled in, indicated that they had concerns about how the prime minister just seems to be wanting to line his pockets and the pockets of his family,” Johnson disclosed.
“We did not ask people, ‘do you think the prime minister’ ….we ask what are some of the things that you like about the prime minister and some of the things that you dislike about the prime minister. And the fact that, off the top of their heads, was how he mainly cares about himself and his family. A lot of people in general.”
Johnson, who has been conducting polls in the Caribbean and the United States for 23 years, said he “never had an issue relating to corruption that was that high”.
“I have never seen anything approach the intensity that the issue (of corruption) has,” he told radio listeners.