November 5, 2013
CADRES releases results of public opinion poll

Regional pollsters CADRES have released the results of a public opinion poll they conducted here in October.{{more}}

According to the release from CADRES, a single question relating to the decriminalisation of marijuana was asked, and this gave respondents the option to state that they (i) completely opposed any decriminalisation of marijuana, (ii) supported decriminalisation for medical and religious purposes, or (iii) supported a complete decriminalisation that would include recreational use. The results were interesting and suggest that Vincentians are completely divided on this issue since 44 per cent oppose any form of decriminalisation at this time, while a cumulative total of 45 per cent support partial or full decriminalisation, with 11 per cent offering no opinion on the issue.

The quantity of persons not responding to the question (11 per cent) is comparatively low and implies that Vincentians are thinking about this issue and have formed some opinion on it, with those supporting medical and religious decriminalisation (36 per cent) being the single largest group. Only 9 per cent of Vincentians support the full decriminalisation of marijuana, which would include recreational use. It is also noteworthy that when these data are analysed from the perspective of the political party preferred by respondents on all sides of this issue, there is NO significant correlation. Simply put, this means that Vincentians who support the Unity Labour Party are no more or less likely to support decriminalisation than Vincentians who support the New Democratic Party.

CADRES asked Vincentians about the marijuana issue directly; however, when asked their major issue of concern, the issue of marijuana did not emerge. Instead the single largest quantity of respondents indicated that they were most concerned about the issue of Jobs and Employment (37 per cent), followed by Crime (19 per cent), the Economy (18 per cent) and the Cost of Living (14 per cent). This list of concerns does not differ significantly from the last CADRES survey conducted in 2010. The major noticeable difference would be an increased concern over Crime in St Vincent. It is also useful to note that across the region, CADRES has detected a similar preoccupation with issues of an economic nature in our surveys.

Another issue of particular concern to CADRES was the construction of the new international airport which has been a controversial preoccupation of the ULP Government. CADRES asked respondents if they thought the airport was “worth it” and the single largest quantity (56 per cent) said “Yes” while 30 per cent of Vincentians argued that it was not “worth it”. In this instance, there was a weak correlation with political party support, suggesting that ULP supporters were more inclined to support the airport than NDP supporters. Notwithstanding, an overall majority of Vincentians now support the airport project.

Although party support was a less significant focus of this investigation, CADRES did collect this data which reflect an overall positive support for the ULP government, which is above the level that it received in the 2010 election. This implies an electoral swing favouring the ULP, which CADRES now estimates at 2 per cent. If this swing is projected against the results of the last election, the ULP would maintain all the seats it currently has and could potentially capture between two and four seats (if an election were held at the time the survey was conducted).

The other major issue explored in this survey was that of leadership preference and in this regard Vincentians have indicated a clear preference for Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, while Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace remains the second most popular leader in St Vincent. In the instance of PM Gonsalves, he is now preferred by 61 per cent of Vincentians, while Mr. Eustace is preferred by 38 per cent of Vincentians. These 2013 leadership numbers are both improvements over the 2010 scenario in which PM Gonsalves was preferred by 52 per cent of Vincentians and Eustace by 36 per cent.