Blip or trend? 58 per cent of the population are satisfied with the performance of Craig Cannonier’s Government. It’s a 13 per cent drop from a year ago but it remains on a par with the highest satisfaction rating for the PLP’s Paula Cox. And before Ms Cox, the last Premier who commanded a satisfaction rating of higher than 58 per cent was Alex Scott, in 2004. *Poll graphic courtesy of Total Research Associates. Photo montage by Gary Foster Skelton


Islanders are growing increasingly dissatisfied with Premier Craig Cannonier and his Government, according to the latest poll.

The number of residents satisfied with the OBA’s performance has dropped from 71 per cent on coming to power to 58 per cent. And the number of dissatisfied islanders has risen by nine per cent.

But the survey, by Total Research Associates from The Bermuda Omnibus, still has six out of ten
residents satisfied with the ruling party.

Last night Mr Cannonier told the Sun lessons had been learned and tough decisions taken, but his party remains determined to build a better Bermuda.

Political commentators such as Sir John Swan played down the slump as the inevitable fallout after a new party comes to power — as well as a consequence of taking hard decisions to put the island back on track. 



Paying the price

Premier Craig Cannonier and his Government have suffered a significant slump in the latest poll.

Satisfaction with the ruling party’s performance has dropped by 13 per cent in a year, while those dissatisfied has risen by nearly 10 per cent to over a third.

But despite growing dissatisfaction, six in ten residents remain satisfied with Mr Cannonier and his Government.

Seventy-one per cent of high earners and 86 per cent of white residents are content with the job the OBA is doing.

Former PLP Premier Alex Scott told the Sun there was always ‘fallout’ once a party came to power as tough decisions had to be made.

UBP Premier Sir John Swan said that a 58 per cent satisfaction figure was “nothing to frown at”.

Last night Mr Cannonier said: “We’ve used our first year in office to lay down basic directions we need to go to get the island moving forward again.

“We’ve learned some lessons and made some tough decisions that have generated controversy.

“This is the business of government and this latest poll reflects all of that.”

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n OBA spokesperson responded to the latest poll by Total Research Associates from The Bermuda Omnibus by saying: “Signs say we are making progress — moving Bermuda in the right direction. As long as we keep doing that, public support should hold.”

Mr Scott said: “A poll is a snap-shot of time.

“The promises of this Government meant folks had expectations and after 15 months the public have compared their expectations against the reality. Compared with other Premiers, he is still holding his own.

“There is always fallout no matter who is in office, because once the public expects it is almost impossible to satisfy everyone.

“You take hard decisions and your poll numbers continue to dip.

“There have been the recent labour issues, transparency issues and education issues.

“The exercise of Government takes you to a level where you are either positive or negative; and if you stay in the positive territory you are doing alright.”

Sir John added: “Polls are about people’s expectations and you want to be the right side of the 50 per cent curve.

“The economy was in such bad shape when this Government inherited it, it would be foolhardy to think a miracle could be performed.

“So the big question is not really where we are, but are we heading in the right direction? “Restoring economic activity and social stability takes time.

“The new policies that have been brought in like term limits, the end of the 60-40 rule and immigration and tax incentives for businesses to come to Bermuda should have been done a long time ago.

“That allows their business to thrive and create jobs for Bermudians and tenants for Bermudian homes.

“But you can not expect all that to happen in 15 months.”

Premier Cannonier and his Government’s 58 per cent satisfaction rating may have fallen 13 points in a year, but it remains on a par with the highest satisfaction rating Paula Cox achieved after she first took office.

And before Ms Cox, the last time a Premier commanded a satisfaction rating of higher than 58 per cent was Alex Scott in 2004.

Sir John said: “This poll would not worry me as Premier.

“I would pay attention to it. It tells me that I need to get on with the job.

“Most Governments would like a 58 per cent satisfaction figure. I don’t see it as a loss of confidence; it is more a reduction in satisfaction.

The latest poll shows just 43 per cent of black residents and 52 per cent of low earners are satisfied with Government.

Mr Scott said: “This has been a global crisis; the possibility of Government satisfying everyone in 15 months was a mission impossible.

“But that was the promise and the expectation — and then when the budget came out and debt was higher. 

“There is the immigration factor too — Government says it will have to try new things and bring more people into the island to drive the economy.

“That is going to be a hard sell if not impossible.

“There is a natural attrition to Premier and Government poll numbers. It’s just the rigours of the decision-making process.

“Falling numbers are not automatically a sign of a failing administration or an unpopular Premier.”

The new poll consisted of telephone interviews with 400 Bermuda residents conducted between March 10 and 21.

Premier Cannonier told the Sun: “My Government has embarked on a multi-year mission to get the Island working better for the people — doing whatever it takes to turn around the economy, protect jobs and get people back to work. It’s a big, complex challenge to rebuild investor confidence, restore control and discipline to our national finances and provide the Island with a government we can afford.

“My message to Bermuda today is that your government is working hard to make the Island work again for you. There will be ups and downs going forward, but I am ever confident that we will succeed — ministers, backbenchers, civil servants, all of us, working together for a safe, secure and prosperous Bermuda.

An OBA spokesman added: “Getting on with the people’s business in the last few months has meant having to take some difficult decisions, decisions which have not been universally popular.

“It has also meant working to bring about change, which is never a comfortable process. Most of the public know that we’re doing it all in a good cause, because Bermuda was, and still is, in a bad economic way.” 

Total Research Associates Ltd.provided the Bermuda Sun with selected results from The Bermuda Omnibus©, a syndicated quarterly survey of public opinion. Running for more than 15 years, the Bermuda Omnibus© is conducted quarterly. Results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of 400 Bermuda residents (18 years or older).
Results are accurate to within plus or minus 4.9 per cent in 95 out of 100 samples. Contact Graham Redford, Managing Director, Total Research Associates Ltd., 295 4558 or email: research@totalgroup.bm