Neck and neck: Cox and Cannonier. <em>*File photo</em>
Neck and neck: Cox and Cannonier. *File photo

FRIDAY, MARCH 2: The Opposition OBA has edged ahead of the ruling PLP, according to the latest poll.

A total of 39 per cent of voters said they would back the new party compared to 30 per cent for the PLP.

But almost a quarter of those surveyed — 23 per cent — are sitting on the fence and have not decided who to back.

Statistician Cordell Riley, whose Profiles of Bermuda carried out the survey, said: “The real story is that there is clearly dissatisfaction among PLP supporters.

“What’s happening is people are saying ‘I’m not going to vote OBA, but I’m dissatisfied with the PLP and I’m going to wait and see what happens’.

“The PLP have scored an own goal at this point, which has allowed the OBA to go ahead.”

But he stressed that the 5.6 per cent margin of error — if applied in favour of the PLP — would mean that the parties are neck and neck in the race for votes.

If the same margin of error was applied in favour of the OBA, it would give them the Opposition more than a double digit lead.

Forty-two per cent of people polled by Profiles said that in the last general election they had voted PLP, while 44 per cent said they had voted for the then-UBP.

Mr Riley said that there was a trend towards unhappiness with the PLP as far back as 2009.

He added: “Now the recession is a big thing and has taken a big bite out of income. That has possibly affected PLP voters, who are more likely to be working class, more.”

The survey showed just 1 per cent would vote for the UBP or Independent candidates, while five per cent said they would not vote at all.

The poll also found that 96 per cent of those who said they would vote PLP were black people, compared to four per cent of white people and others.

Of those who said they would back the OBA, 67 per cent were white or other races and 33 per cent were black.

Among those yet to decide, 65 per cent were black and 35 per cent were white or other races.

Mr Riley said: “When an election is called and the political machinery gets into gear, the big question for the PLP is how many of those people who haven’t decided they can win over.

On the fence

“The key to the election is what the dissatisfied PLP voters will do. There’s a chunk of people sitting on the fence and what they do is critical.”

Mr Riley added that, although the UBP vote was small, it still had the potential to hurt the OBA, formed from most of the UBP and the Bermuda Democratic Alliance (BDA), especially in seats with slim majorities.

He said: “The big question for the OBA is how many of those undecided voters they can attract to their ranks.”

The survey also found sex played a part in voting trends.

Mr Riley said that 29 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women indicated they would vote for the PLP.

For the OBA, the figures were 49 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

The survey was carried out among 301 registered voters between the latter part of last year and February 10. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.6 per cent.