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December 6, 2005

In an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Sunday evening, leading regional pollster Peter Wickham, said after conducting a poll in all 13 constituencies on mainland St.Vincent, the Unity Labour Party (ULP) is sitting comfortably in the lead of the December 7 General Elections race and he is not expecting a change of government.

“The ULP is likely to win,” said Wickham. {{more}}Wickham, a Political Consultant and the Principal Director of the leading Caribbean political research company, Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), said his organization has conducted polls in almost all the Caribbean countries and has established a reputation that it is never wrong.

“CADRES asked persons in all constituencies their opinion on which party they believed would win the seat in that constituency, as distinct from who they will vote for and in all instances on the mainland, the majority of persons indicated that they felt that the ULP would win,” said Wickham.

The data collected, he noted, was based on national trends and not necessarily as a conclusive indicator of the likely outcome in any single constituency. He added the poll was designed to capture the political opinion of approximately 1, 000 persons.

“We went into every single constituency, areas highly likely to swing and areas where they had no strong allegiance,” said Wickham, explaining that the poll was conducted using a model designed for areas that had fluid public opinions.

He made it clear that the poll he conducted less than a month ago was not commissioned by the incumbent ULP.

He however added he is optimistic that based on his findings “the ULP will win a majority of the seats.

“The poll numbers not only show that the ULP will retain office but they confirm that there has been an improvement in the political fortunes of the ULP during the last few months,” Wickham explained. He disclosed that the recent poll shows that the support for the ULP had increased significantly over the poll that he had conducted here in May 2005.

Of major importance in every election, said Wickham, is the issue of leadership and in this instance, “the poll highlighted a preference for the leadership of Dr.Gonsalves. A majority of persons surveyed indicated that they believed that leadership was the major strength of the ULP, while a majority saw leadership as the major weakness of the NDP and it is also significant to note that the majority of voters who did not state their political opinion gave Gonsalves a rating of “10” out of “10” while these persons gave Eustace a rating of “5” out of “10”.

Almost two weeks ago, local pollster Cecil Ryan, conducted a poll which also gave the ULP the lead over the NDP.