Poll: Snap election would crush UBP
...But PLP insiders say a snap election is highly unlikely
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 12:23 PM
If a snap election were called tomorrow the United Bermuda Party would be crushed by an overwhelming margin.
Support for the Opposition has evaporated since the country last went to the polls in 2007, with the latest numbers indicating an unprecedented 32-point lead for the PLP.
Speculation has been rife that Premier Dr. Ewart Brown could call a general election to take advantage of a split within the UBP that saw three MPs defect to form their own party last month.
And a new poll, commissioned by the PLP after the split, indicates it would be worth his while to do so.
If an election were held tomorrow the PLP would attract 56 per cent of the vote, compared to just 24 per cent for the UBP, with 14 per cent undecided and the new party barely registering a blip at six per cent.
But PLP leaders say the poll, conducted by Research 2000, was not put in the field to test the water ahead of an election.
And party insiders say it is 'extremely unlikely' that a snap election will be called.
They feel they already have a large enough majority to dictate proceedings in the House, without going to the country.
And they believe an election would be a distraction from the ambitious legislative agenda they are hoping to unveil at the Throne Speech.
PLP spokesman Wentworth Christopher: "It is obviously not my decision but I've personally seen nothing that suggests an election is on the horizon.
"My personal view is that it would not be the prudent thing to do. It's not necessary."
But he said the poll was a 'vindication' of the work the PLP was doing.
"It reaffirmed my belief that we are on the right track... The aims and objectives of the party continue to find favour with the populus...
"The numbers are interesting, but they are not surprising. What the poll shows is that the UBP's support is collapsing and the PLP and to a lesser extent the new-BP are benefitting from that."
The poll of 603 likely voters, who vote regularly in parliamentary elections, was conducted between September 28 and October 1.
Significantly the people polled were asked to indicate how they voted at the last election. The answers mirrored the 2007 result with 50 per cent indicating that they voted for the PLP and 46 per cent for the UBP. Four per cent either did not vote or voted for an independent candidate.
Asked about voting intentions if an election were held tomorrow the numbers change significantly with the PLP increasing its lead in all demographics.
The statistics make sober reading for the UBP.
Even among the party's loyal white voter base support has disintegrated. While 90 per cent of whites polled indicated that they had voted for the UBP at the last election, only 55 per cent said they would vote for the party tomorrow.
The PLP is still struggling to attract disenfranchised white voters, however. The party saw a mild increase from eight to ten per cent among the 199 whites polled.
But the majority of the white voters who deserted the UBP either switched to the new party or where undecided on how they would vote.
The new party started by UBP dissidents Mark Pettingill, Shawn Crockwell and Donte Hunt which does not yet have a name, did not fare much better.
Only six per cent of those polled said they would vote for the party - dubbed the NewBP. And 81 per cent of those who said they did not support the new Bermuda party indicated that there was no chance of them supporting them in the near future.
Less positively for the PLP only 36 per cent of those polled said they thought 'generally speaking' Bermuda was on the right track.
Almost one in three believe the country is on the wrong track with a similar number unsure.
Mr Christopher insisted the poll, though commissioned by the PLP, was conducted by an independent U.S. research company.
The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.