The just-released public opinion poll, which shows that 62 per cent of Barbadians want a change of Government may be encouraging news for the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), but not so for the Freundel Stuart-led ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration.
In a press statement this evening, DLP General Secretary George Pilgrim sought to rubbish its findings saying, based on his initial analysis of the Systematic Marketing & Research Services Inc’s survey, there were many shortcomings, both in terms of its methodology and results.
“[I am an] avid believer that research and statistics when collected and processed accurately, should form the basis of sound and informed decisions made by Government and businesses alike. Therefore, one must ensure to use known and proven statistical procedures to produce data of a high, reliable and trusted calibre,” said Pilgrim.
Stating that “the poll’s methodology failed to outline how the 90 districts were selected”, he argued that it would be easy to get the findings to favour the Opposition, by simply going into BLP strongholds and “skewing” the final results.
The DLP General Secretary also took issue with the fact that persons between the ages of 16 and 24 were asked who they had voted for in the previous election.
“Asking this question to 16-year-old Barbadians would suggest they voted at the age of 14,” the DLP spokesman contended.
“Given these findings and many more, I am not convinced the sponsor of the poll got value for money. When one examines the release of the poll on the hour [third anniversary] of our election victory in 2013, the question remains in whose interest was the poll designed to serve?
Pilgrim also thanked Barbadians for “staying the course and allowing us the opportunity to design a Barbados that responds to a new normal and new imperatives”.
However, outspoken Government Minister Donville Inniss was less dismissive of the poll’s results.
In a brief comment to Barbados TODAY on the findings, Inniss said both the governing DLP and the Opposition BLP had their work cut out for them, in terms of seeking to reclaim lost ground.
“My only comment is that it is a poll, which is always subject to several interpretations. I note the broad findings of it and would say that it is . . . if the Democratic Labour Party or the BLP take the poll seriously, then we all have a lot of work to do to remain in the hearts and minds of the people,” said Inniss, who was yet to thoroughly examine the results.
With only 20 per cent of those polled indicating support for the Stuart administration, the poll suggests that it would not be in the best interest of the ruling DLP to call a general election anytime soon. In fact, majority of respondents, or 40 per cent, indicated support for the BLP.
Significantly, though, 34 per cent of those polled refused to divulge their party of choice in the next general election.
Today, BLP General Secretary Dr Jerome Walcott also reacted to the results, saying though they were encouraging, the party was “not moved as such”.
Walcott argued that the poll was simply a reflection of what was happening in a society at a particular time.
“As I always say, a poll is just a poll. It is a guideline as to what is happening in a society. We will not be complacent because of the results of the poll. We know what we have to do,” he told Barbados TODAY, while noting that the majority of respondents had expressed a lack of confidence in the current administration’s ability to enhance their social and economic status.
However, the poll was not all positives for the BLP. After scoring a 48 per cent approval rating in a public opinion poll published by CADRES last year, the BLP leader Mia Mottley appeared to have suffered a loss of political ground. In the latest Systematic survey, she managed to hold on to her preferred national leader status but with 21 per cent support this time around, compared to the Prime Minister with 17 per cent and former BLP leader Owen Arthur with eight per cent.
While not rejecting the poll’s findings, Walcott said: “We prefer to focus on what we have to do in preparation for the next general election. We note that as we moved around in some of our mass canvassing in the constituencies, the concerns that have been expressed in the poll. We encountered concerns in terms of unemployment, crime, the economy, road repairs and health care. These were some of the things we encountered.
“However, what we have been doing is working assiduously in the constituencies moving ahead. We have our plans in terms of the roll out of nominations to find candidates in those constituencies where we do not have any. That is our focus,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Meanwhile, Mottley could not be reached for a comment on the results of the poll, while St Joseph MP and former Attorney General Dale Marshall said: “I will leave the analysis of the poll to the statisticians”.