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More support for ruling party ahead of elections in Bermuda


More support for ruling party ahead of elections in Bermuda

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HAMILTON – The ruling One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) has increased its public support to half of the popular vote, according to a new opinion poll published by the Royal Gazette newspaper on Saturday, three days ahead of the general election in this British Overseas Territory.

Asked by pollsters who they would vote for in the election, 50 per cent of registered voters said the OBA, 39 per cent said the opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) and two per cent said independent candidates (there are five), with six per cent undecided and three per cent refusing to answer.

With the poll also showing a clear rise in confidence in the economy, it means the OBA has a 50-39 lead over the PLP, stretching its advantage from six points in May to 11 points now.

However, the Gazette pointed out while the survey remains a guide to both parties’ popularity across the island, it should not be considered a simple predictor for Tuesday’s election.

Most pundits have long concluded under the first-past-the-post system, the result will be decided by the outcome of a handful of constituencies involving tight races between individual OBA and PLP candidates.

But the poll does show that the ruling party is enjoying its highest share of public support since coming to power in 2012, when it beat the PLP by 19 seats to 17. However, two of those 19 later resigned from the OBA and Premier Michael Dunkley pre-empted a vote of no-confidence in his government planned by the PLP by calling a general election six weeks ago.

The OBA’s previous best score was 44 per cent in May.

The PLP, meanwhile, has remained in the 30s for the past two years. Its score of 39 is up one point on two months ago.

Public faith in the economy, and in particular Finance Minister Bob Richards, has also shot up in the past two months.

Some 44 per cent of voters told pollsters they were confident in the direction of Bermuda’s economy, up from 29 per cent in May, and higher than any point since the early days of the financial crisis in November 2007.

Among whites, 72 per cent are confident in the economy, up from 60 per cent, while among majority blacks, 27 per cent are confident, up from 10 per cent.

Dunkley remains the most popular of the party leaders, with a 44 per cent approval rating, up from 37 per cent.

Opposition Leader David Burt has an approval rating of 29 per cent, unchanged from May. He is backed by 44 per cent of blacks and five per cent of whites, down two points and up four points, respectively.

The telephone poll of 400 registered voters took place between Tuesday and Thursday and has a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent. (CMC)