Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace says that the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) conducted a poll between July and September that showed that the party could be booted out of office, 13 seats to 2, in a general election.
Eustace did not give the source of his information when he spoke on his weekly radio programme on Monday.
If Eustace’s information is correct, something must have been changed between September and October, data released by regional pollster Peter Wickham, Director at Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) suggest.
Wickham said CADRES conducted a poll in October that showed that the ULP could have won two to four additional seats if elections were called that month.
The ULP has a one-seat majority in the 15-seat Parliament and general elections are constitutionally due in 2015, when the ULP will seek a fourth consecutive term in office.
The CADRES poll, which was commissioned and paid for by the ULP and surveyed 1,000 person on mainland St. Vincent, has generated much discussion since its release a fortnight ago.
“Well, there were election polls already this year you know, which you don’t hear about. Done by the ULP, this year. And … a poll done between July and September of this year concluded that NDP could get up to 13 seats,” Eustace said.
Eustace has led the New Democratic Party to three electoral defeats, even as it came one seat shy of taking office in 2010.
“When they talk about the poll the other day, they said how they are going to win two or four more seats but they say that the people are most concerned about the state of the economy,” Eustace said.
CADRES said that 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) and that this does not differ significantly from the last CADRES survey conducted in 2010.
“Well, [it] is they [who] have the economy so,” Eustace said of the ULP.
“So how come people will be looking at them to get more seats? Who they think they fooling?” he further said.
Eustace also said that he ULP conducted a poll in East St. George that showed that the incumbent, Minister of Health, Clayton Burgin, could lose to the NDP’s Sen. Linton Lewis by a margin of 38.5 per cent to 60 per cent of the votes there.
“And they also did it for Camillo and Hitz Huggins, and Burgin beat both of them, with his 38.5,” he said in relation to foreign secretary, Camillo Gonsalves, and Consul General to Toronto Huggins, both of whom are said to be prospective candidates of the ULP in the constituency.
“So they have polls going on. Eventually, the electorate will speak and we will know what the real poll is. … There is a lot of talk going around but people will see it in the end. And if they are doing so well, they should call the election now. What are they waiting for? If it is so good, call it now!” Eustace said.
He further said that Sen. Lewis had mentioned on radio previously the statistics about the poll the ULP reportedly did in East St. George.
“Nobody said that ain’t true. They ignored it. They don’t want any debate on that,” he said.
“Let them come and deny this, that the poll says if things get later down the road, NDP will get up to 13 seats and that Linton, in his seat, will beat Burgin, Camillo or Huggins, whichever won they run in the next election,” Eustace said.