Support for the PLP strengthens in new poll
Cox sets new popularity high
Premier Paula Cox is more popular than any other political leader since The Royal Gazette polling began in 2004.
Ms Cox scored a favourability rating of 62 percent in the survey by Mindmaps yesterday, a day after a poll from Research Innovations gave the Premier a favourability of 84 percent.
The highest score any Premier has received previously in this newspaper's polls was Ewart Brown's 61 percent in July 2007.
Shortly before replacing Dr Brown in October 2010, the perennially popular Ms Cox had a rating of 54 percent; before last year's Budget and her “cog in the wheel” remark she consistently scored around the 70 mark.
After winning the general election in December 2007, Dr Brown's favourability stuck around the 20s and 30s; his predecessor Alex Scott generally scored in the 40s and 50s; no Opposition leader has managed above 50 percent in that period.
A breakdown of results shows Ms Cox does well among all ages and races, men and women.
She is liked by 73 percent of blacks and 44 percent of whites, 63 percent of men and 61 percent of women, and more than 50 percent of each age bracket from 18 upward.
Ms Cox's performance approval rating, how well people think she's doing her job, is 40 percent. A large number of voters offered no opinion either way on her performance as she settles into her post, but her approval is still higher than anything Dr Brown managed after the 2007 election.
Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess has a favourability of 29 percent in his first poll since being elected Ms Cox's number two. Mr Burgess draws much of his support from the black community, with 41 percent of blacks liking him, compared with 14 percent of whites.
United Bermuda Party leader Kim Swan's favourability has dropped from 32 percent to 30 percent, with his deputy Trevor Moniz down from 30 percent to 25 percent.
Bermuda Democratic Alliance leader Craig Cannonier falls from 24 percent to 20 percent, with deputy Kathy Michelmore climbing from 14 percent to 18 percent.
The telephone poll of 400 registered voters took place from January 10 to January 19 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
The Progressive Labour Party now has more support than at any time since winning the 2007 general election, according to a new poll.
Forty-four percent of people said they'd vote for the PLP in the poll by Mindmaps: a climb of 17 percentage points since Premier Paula Cox took over from Ewart Brown last October.
The United Bermuda Party's support has also grown, from 20 percent to 28 percent, with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance remaining at 13 percent.
For the first time since the BDA's formation last January, support for the PLP now outnumbers the combined support of both Opposition parties, according to the poll, which comes a day after a similar survey from Research Innovations.
Much of the PLP's increase comes from an upsurge in white supporters, with 17 percent of whites now saying they would vote for the ruling party.
Twenty-six out of 156 whites said they would vote PLP, compared with zero out of 131 last July.
Ms Cox's favourability rating has gone up from 54 percent to 62 percent, showing she has recovered much of the public support she lost around the time of her unpopular Budget and “cog in the wheel” remark a year ago.
But the majority of the Country doesn't want the Premier to cash in on her party's and her own popularity by calling a general election.
Just 28 percent were in favour of a 2011 election, which pundits say could see the PLP claim up to 30 of the House of Assembly's 36 seats; 66 percent didn't want one.
Since taking 53 percent of the votes to the UBP's 47 percent in the 2007 election, the PLP has consistently polled in the 30s while maintaining a healthy lead over the Opposition.
That figure dipped to 27 percent in the previous Mindmaps poll last October, when voters appeared to hedge their bets while waiting to see who would replace Dr Brown as Premier.
The PLP's new 44 percent figure means it now has a lead of 16 percentage points over its nearest challenger the UBP, up from seven percentage points three months ago.
However the UBP which had the consolation of beating the BDA to second place in last month's Warwick South Central by-election has at least recovered some of the support it lost in the aftermath of four MPs quitting in the summer of 2009. Its share of the vote is now 28 percent, having consistently been around the low 20s throughout last year.
Still stuck on 13 percent, the BDA's high point remains the 17 percent it achieved shortly after it was founded.
All three parties' performance approval ratings have improved. The PLP's has leapt from 22 to 44 percent, the UBP's from 11 percent to 29 percent and the BDA's from seven percent to 25 percent.
Reacting yesterday, the PLP said in a statement: “The PLP remains encouraged by the results of this latest poll. We believe that it validates the work that we are doing on behalf of our community.
“We remain acutely aware of the challenges facing our Country and are focused on working through the challenging conditions to address all the legitimate concerns of the people.”
A UBP spokesman pointed to the opposition to a snap election, saying: “The most important poll finding is the public's aversion to the idea of an election this year.
“It says people want this Government to get on with the job it was elected to do, which is to govern in a manner that strengthens the Island and improves people's lives.
“That's not happening now and the people know it. They want good government not more politics.
“Getting Bermuda back on track is the overriding national challenge today, and this poll reflects that basic concern. That is our focus. We can only hope it is also the Government's focus.”
Mr Cannonier said his party would target the 16 percent of voters who remain undecided.
“The poll results indicate that support for the BDA is fairly steady. The large number of undecided voters indicates a real opportunity,” he said.
“It remains surprising at the favourability of the Premier given that as Minister of Finance she has presided over the worst economic period in Bermuda's history.
“However, we remain committed to working in the best interests of the Country and providing ideas and input. We remain committed to helping develop the right path for Bermuda.”
The telephone poll of 400 registered voters took place between January 10 and 19 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
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