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PLP and OBA running neck and neck – poll

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Both political parties are struggling to win over voters ahead of the next General Election.

In a survey carried out by independent pollster Narrative Research Bermuda, the ruling Progressive Labour Party and the opposition One Bermuda Alliance are tied when respondents were asked by pollsters whom they would vote for if an election were to be held tomorrow.

According to the survey of 400 people, both parties garnered 26 per cent of support. However, 28 per cent of those questioned said that they were still undecided.

A further 10 per cent of those questioned said that they had no intention to vote.

The survey was conducted in the first two weeks of September — ahead of the Throne Speech this month, when the Government outlined its plans for the coming parliamentary year.

Under parliamentary rules, the PLP does not have to call an election until the autumn of 2025. At the last General Election, in October 2020, it trounced the OBA, securing 62 per cent of the vote and winning 30 of the 36 seats in the House of Assembly.

Presented with the results of the poll over the weekend, the OBA said the statistics showed that the Government had run out of steam, and that the electorate wanted change.

In contrast, a spokeswoman for the PLP dismissed the poll as inaccurate, stating that polls had historically underestimated support for the party.

Aguinaldo Medeiros, OBA chairman

Aguinaldo Medeiros, the chairman of the OBA, acknowledged that the survey represented only a “snapshot” of voter intentions.

However, he went on to say that the results showed that the electorate had grown tired of a sitting government that no longer had a mandate to govern.

Mr Medeiros said: “A mere 26 per cent vote of confidence for a ruling government sends an alarming and deafening message that our electorate is, quite frankly, fed up with the ineffective manner in which our country is being managed.

“For a government that’s been in power for more than six years and, more specifically, held a 30-6 majority in Parliament for the past three, the results do not bode well for the confidence once bestowed upon it or its leadership.

“In fact, it clearly demonstrates the opposite, and what much of the people of Bermuda already know — that the island has lost complete and utter confidence in the current administration and, in turn, has equally lost complete faith in its ability to advance not just our current economic and social wellbeing but that it does not possess the fortitude and resolve to indeed secure Bermuda’s future.

“The appetite for political change in Bermuda is at fever pitch, and it’s being welcomed by our electorate at such an unprecedented rate not experienced in over a decade.

“To that end, the One Bermuda Alliance has absolute confidence that as Bermuda becomes further acquainted with our leadership, prospective representatives and vision for the country in the ensuing weeks and months, we will increasingly gain the trust and will of the people as they recognise and experience first-hand that the OBA indeed possesses the future leaders of this country as its government-in-waiting.”

Asked for its analysis of the poll results, the PLP spokeswoman said: “Three days before the 2017 General Election, The Royal Gazette published a poll showing the OBA had an 11-point lead over the PLP. The actual results were an 18-point PLP victory.

“The PLP remains confident in the fact that our government is delivering on the promises made in our 2017 and 2020 platforms to create a fairer and better Bermuda, and through our legislative agenda, we are doing just that.

“We understand it won’t be easy, and we know that there may be apprehension regarding different initiatives, but in the end, voters will judge our government on the entire body of work since the last election.

“The PLP will continue to tell its story on the doorsteps, and our MPs will continue to demonstrate how the policies we’ve changed since coming to office have helped working Bermudians.”

One former PLP MP commented on the poll’s findings.

Rolfe Commissiong, former PLP MP

Rolfe Commissiong, who represented Pembroke South East between December 2012 and August 2020, urged “caution” when analysing the figures.

He suggested that voter apathy — just 55 per cent of the island’s 46,300 registered voters went to the ballot box in 2020 — could harm the Government, but that it was unlikely that the OBA could capitalise on that disenchantment.

Mr Commissiong said: “That figure of more than 10,000 voters who disappeared from the polls in 2020 would represent the biggest fall in voter participation in Bermuda’s modern political history.

“The PLP, which lost over 4,000 voters during that period, may see an additional haemorrhaging of voter support next time. But I seriously doubt that any measurable number of those voters will come and vote for the OBA. Why vote for more of the same?

“As for the PLP, once you reach the political summit, political gravity kicks in. There is only one direction left, and that is down. The only question is, how many seats will they lose?

“The usual suspects are those constituencies located on the southern spine of the country, where most of the more affluent White population resides — from Tucker’s Town, to the southern regions of Smith’s, Devonshire, Paget, the central area of Southampton and Harbour Road.

“Why is this relevant? Because White Bermudians have always voted overwhelmingly for either the UBP [United Bermuda Party] or the OBA. They are far more monolithic in their voting choices than Black Bermudians, who have always been prepared to vote for either party. The PLP is now the party of the Black middle-class.”

According to Narrative Research Bermuda, White residents polled were more likely to say they would vote for the OBA, while Black residents were more likely to say they would vote for the PLP. Undecided eligible voters were split equally by race.

• The results reflect opinions of 400 adult Bermuda residents conducted from August 31 to September 13, 2023. The questions are not commissioned by a third party and were collected independently by Narrative Research Bermuda. The survey was conducted by phone. A sample size of 400 surveys collected by telephone allows for a statistical margin of error to within ± 4.9 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.

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Published November 20, 2023 at 8:01 am (Updated November 20, 2023 at 1:01 pm)

PLP and OBA running neck and neck – poll

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