PM Gonsalves up nine per cent in  leadership survey
November 5, 2013
PM Gonsalves up nine per cent in leadership survey

Sixty-one percent of Vincentians prefer Dr Ralph Gonsalves as leader of St Vincent and the Grenadines, but not all of these persons will vote for him.{{more}}

According to a CADRES poll conducted last month, in terms of leadership, 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,” the release said.

However, Peter Wickham, who leads the CADRES team who conducted the poll, told SEARCHLIGHT by email yesterday that on the issue of party support and leadership, there is definitely a correlation; however, that stops short of being a causal relationship.

“In simple terms, this means that a person who supports the ULP is more likely to support the PM; however, there are persons who support the PM who do not support the ULP. The different sets of data are derived from two specific questions which speak to party support and leadership preference and it is clear at this time that there are some people in St Vincent who think that the PM is the better person to lead, but these persons are nonetheless supporters of the NDP and will NOT vote Labour. This is not unusual in St Vincent or across the region,” Wickham said.

SEARCHLIGHT spoke with Gonsalves yesterday, and he said his popularity rating in 2010 was negatively affected by the results of the Constitutional Referendum of 2009.

“In 2010, we were coming out from the referendum and some of that spilled over and in the 2010 elections. Sir James was in and …[he] had attracted about 11 per cent of the vote [from] those who wanted him to remain.

But I held my support and have pulled support from other places.”

Gonsalves said the breakdown of the results of the poll conducted last month says which of the respondents are supporters of the NDP and which support the ULP.

“The poll didn’t show that anybody who supports the ULP wanted Eustace as leader. But the poll showed persons who are supporters of the NDP want Ralph as leader,” he bragged.

In relation to the question “Who do you prefer as Prime Minister”, Gonsalves said some of the persons who identified themselves as NDP supporters said Gonsalves.

The poll also reflected 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 release said.

President of the NDP Arnhim Eustace, however, says he is not giving very much attention to the poll.

Speaking on on the New Times programme yesterday, Eustace said “I really not giving very much attention to this poll; this poll was not designed to do what it pretends it’s designed to do. If it is on the marijuana, it is headed St Vincent and the Grenadines public opinion update.”

The poll asked a question relating to the decriminalization of marijuana and what issues respondents are most concerned about. Respondents listed jobs and employment, crime, the economy and the cost of living as the issues which concern them most.

“It doesn’t say it is a poll on anything.

“When you look at the language of the poll, … it is very, very cautious, all the language, not committing to anything. Two to four seats, that is a big gap…,” Eustace said.

“At the same time, it is saying that crime, cost of living, the economy doing bad, those are the things that people are concerned about, yet, we not improving. The Government who have us in that condition, they improving….

“I don’t understand that. I am not really paying any attention to that,” the NDP President said.