The battle of the pollsters

Rudolph Brown Dr Timothy Harris, prime minister of St Kitts-Nevis and current chairman of Caricom. BASSETERRE, CMC: One week after the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) predicted that the ruling Team Unity administration would most likely win the next general election here, another regionally based pollster is pouring cold water on that prediction.“Overall, I am projecting that Labour is ahead in seven seats. They are having real challenges in two seats, and two seats are up for grabs,” said Bill Johnson of the Jamaica-based Johnson’s Survey Research Limited Inc that has accurately predicted the defeat of the then ruling St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) in the 2015 general election.Speaking on a radio programme here on Wednesday, Johnson also disagreed with the findings of the CADRES poll that found most voters here preferred Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris over Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas.He said in six of the eight constituencies, “Dr Douglas has a decided lead over who they want as prime minister and who would make the best prime minister”.CADRES said that its poll, conducted in the twin-island federation last October, comes ahead of the fifth anniversary of the last general election that was held on February 16, 2015, when Prime Minister Harris led the coalition Team Unity to victory over Douglas’ SKNLP.The Barbados-based based pollsters, which enjoy an impressive record in the Caribbean, said that, as in 2018 when people were asked which political party in the federation they believed had the best chance of winning a majority of seats, “Team Unity continued to be the coalition that most persons believed would emerge victorious.“On this occasion, some 48 per cent of Kittitians and Nevisians believed Team Unity would win, while 26 per cent thought the Labour/NRP (Nevis Reformation Party) Coalition would win, and 24 per cent were unsure. In this regard it is significant that while 86 per cent of Team Unity supporters believed that Team Unity would win, 70 per cent of Labour/NRP supporters thought that Labour/NRP would win, and the uncommitted votes were more inclined to envisage a Team Unity victory,” CADRES added.It said the actual expression of voter preference on this occasion was 43 per cent, Team Unity; 32 per cent, Labour/NRP; and 24 per cent, uncommitted; with one per cent opting for another party/independent candidate.But Johnson told radio listeners that his poll has found that the SKNLP “continues to be significantly in the lead,” and that voters are concerned about allegations that the government has been paying criminals in a bid to lessen the crime situation on the federation.