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Election poll suggests East End deadlock

Graphic by Byron Muhammad

The General Election race for St George’s is locked in a dead heat, according to a poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette.

The One Bermuda Alliance and the Progressive Labour Party is each claiming 42 per cent of the votes in the East End parish that has proved a decisive battleground in all recent elections, with 16 per cent of voters undecided.

It comes after months of campaigning in the area from both parties who are aiming to capture the four eastern constituencies including St George’s West, which the OBA won by just four votes to clinch power in 2012.

As previously reported, the Global Research poll between May 15 and 19 found the OBA was leading overall by 44 per cent to 38 per cent.

A breakdown of the results by parish shows the contest is particularly tight in St George’s, Devonshire, Pembroke and Warwick, where the gap is no more than five points in each. The telephone poll of 400 registered voters has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent.

St George’s has traditionally been one of the most closely fought political battles: on nine occasions since 2003 its constituencies have been won or lost by margins of less than 50 votes.

At the 2012 election, the OBA took three of the parish’s four seats, including St George’s West, where Nandi Outerbridge claimed 359 for the OBA, against 355 for Renée Ming of the PLP and 214 for independent Kim Swan. The popular vote in the East End was tied at 47 per cent each.

Since then, Mr Swan has joined the PLP, and in early May he was unveiled as the Opposition’s candidate for St George’s West, where he will likely go head-to-head with Ms Outerbridge, the sports minister.

The OBA believes it has sparked rejuvenation in St George’s, with groundbreaking finally taking place on a St Regis hotel last month after decades of broken promises about such a development. Economic activity has been further boosted by the airport redevelopment and the return of regular cruise ships.

The PLP has been actively promoting its St George’s election candidates, with senators Tineé Furbert and Ms Ming rolled out in St George’s South and St George’s North in addition to Mr Swan.

Meanwhile, in Pembroke, the parties are neck and neck, on 40 per cent each. In the central parish’s tightest constituency, Pembroke Central, Walton Brown, of the PLP, beat Andrew Simons by six votes in 2012. Mr Simons was unveiled as the OBA candidate for the constituency on Monday.

In Warwick, the OBA is leading 39 per cent to 37 per cent. In its closest constituency, Warwick North Central, Wayne Scott of the OBA beat David Burch of the PLP by ten votes in 2012. The OBA unveiled former tennis player Sheila Gomez as its candidate for the constituency last week. In Sandys, the PLP continues to dominate, with a lead of 54 per cent to 21 per cent. The OBA is ahead by 30, 26, 20, 12 and 5 points in Smith’s, Paget, Southampton, Hamilton and Devonshire respectively. Most of those results are consistent with previous election results, except for Hamilton, where the PLP was successful in two of the three seats five years ago.

• St George’s West, 2012: Nandi Outerbridge (OBA) beat Renee Ming (PLP) by 4 votes

• St George’s South, 2012: Suzann Roberts-Holshouser (OBA) beat Leroy Bean (PLP) by 48 votes

• St George’s North, 2007: Dame Jennifer Smith (PLP) beat Kenneth Bascome (UBP) by 25 votes

• St George’s West, 2007: Kim Swan (UBP) beat Dean Foggo (PLP) by 17 votes

• St George’s South, 2007: Donte Hunt (UBP) beat Phil Perinchief (PLP) by 25 votes

• St George’s North, 2003: Dame Jennifer Smith (PLP) beat Kenneth Bascome (UBP) by 8 votes

• St George’s West, 2003: Dean Foggo (PLP) beat Kim Swan (UBP) by 22 votes

• St David’s, 2003: Suzann Roberts-Holshouser (UBP) beat Danvers Seymour (PLP) by 15 votes

• St George’s South, 2003: Renee Webb (PLP) beat Tim Smith (UBP) by 8 votes