The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services INC (CADRES) Monday predicted a “statistical dead heat” between the two major political parties contesting the June 6 general election here.
CADRES said that an opinion poll conducted between May 20 and 23 in all 17 constituencies, showed a close race between the ruling St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP).
It said that the poll with a margin of plus or minus five per cent, found that “at this time a statistical dead-heat between the governing SLP and the opposition UWP with the SLP recording 34 per cent and the UWP securing 33 per cent of the committed vote share”.
It said that “some three per cent of respondents promised to support independent candidates; however, it should be noted that this survey was conducted one-week ago when there was an anticipation of greater independent participation than that which materialised on nomination day.
The remaining 30 per cent of respondents were categorized as “Uncertain Voters”.
“The size of the uncertain vote is clearly large enough to impact on the outcome of the election therefore attention needs to be paid to several details of the poll which provide a clue to the possible outcome. Significant among these details is the swing analysis which estimates the likely outcome in terms of party support based on the historic support levels of both parties.”
CADRES said it has employed this prediction tool with considerable accuracy in the past and on this occasion the projected support levels at this time would give the SLP 51 per cent and the UWP 49 per cent which would be a swing of +1.7 per cent for the UWP and -0.4 per cent away from the SLP.
CADRES said that another key indicator of the likely outcome is leadership preference and in this regard respondents were asked to identify the person they would prefer to lead them at this time “and here also there is a statistical dead-heat between the leaders of the SLP and UWP”.
CADRES said that 31 per cent of respondents would prefer to be led by Dr Kenny Anthony and 28 per cent preferred Allan Chastanet.
“CADRES conducted a similar survey in October of 2015 and at that time Anthony was also preferred by 31 per cent while Chastanet was preferred by 19 per cent of respondents. The comparative analysis of these two data sets demonstrate that Chastanet’s popularity increased by about 50 per cent in the eight month period between these surveys, while Anthony’s has remained constant.
“These data were further disaggregated to reveal the preferences of “Uncertain Voters” and this analysis reveals the fact that Anthony has lost more than half of his support among these voters while Chastanet has doubled his support among uncommitted voter.”
CADRES said that while the election is at this time is “too close to call” it does acknowledge “that the incumbent appears to have a momentary advantage, while the opposition seems to have momentum, both of which could be a factor in the remaining days of campaigning.
“As such, CADRES is in the process of conducting constituency based polls in the areas that are likely to determine the outcome of the election,” CADRES said, noting that during the survey respondents were asked to indicate the issue of greatest concern to them at this time and the majority were concerned about employment (40%), while the economy was the second most popular concern (20%) and health care was the third (12%).
In the 2011 general election, the SLP won 11 of the 17 seats.