The Independent newspaper releases result of expert poll
The United Democratic Party may need to up its game if it plans to win the next general election, because the party doesn’t seem to be as popular as some may think, a recent study conducted under the auspices of the Independent newspaper reveals.
The findings say that 33 percent would vote for the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP); 27.4 percent would vote UDP, and 30.3 percent just haven’t made up there minds yet.
Asked how to getA the economy on its feet, only 19.7 percent said the UDP could, while 36.6 percent said they have confidence in the private sector’s efforts. 23.8 percent said the PUP can get it done.
An American-based pollster from Idaho, Greg Strimple, conducted the research from October 7-18, 2011. He interviewed 1,008 registered voters face-to-face, asking each a series of 40 questions.
The Independent’s publisher Glenn Tillett and Strimple presented the findings at a press conference at the offices of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday, January 4.
Since then, however, some serious questions regarding the researcher’s credibility have come up, especially as it relates to the financiers of the study and its overall cost.
Tillett stonewalled reporters. “I’ll tell you straight-up: I won’t reveal the people [donors]-and there are several who have donated and supported this cause ... for the simple reason that they don’t want me to.”
Tillett blamed partisanship and political polarization for the financiers’ desire to remain anonymous.
“They [the donors] don’t want to be driving their kids to school, and they hear Joe, Juliet, Alfonso, Vaughn, and the other [Wave Radio] crew, speaking about them in that disrespectful way.”
Tillett said that the persons who sponsored the poll believe that it was a noble cause; they believe that it’s going to help to further our discussion.
He also refused to divulge how much was spent on the poll.
Aside from the financial concerns, some other aspects of the results have raised some eyebrows.
For example, according to the poll, the former PUP Leader John Briceño enjoys a 44 percent favorablility rating, while Prime Minister Dean Barrow trails at 32 percent. But, it’s important to note that when the poll was done, Briceño was no longer the Leader of the PUP.
With a question that was extracted from a local newspaper, Strimple’s research also addressed people’s views on the recently-passed ‘ninth amendment’ (now the eight amendment to the Constitution).
When asked from which publication he copied the question, Strimple was unable to answer, because he said he did not remember which newspaper.
Nevertheless, 54.5 percent of those polled opposed the ninth amendment, while 31.2 percent supported it.
When it comes to a comparison between the governing UDP, the results are decidedly against them, with the majority of respondents expressing more confidence in the PUP. 35.5 percent said they had a favourable opinion of the UDP and 42.3 percent expressed an unfavourable opinion.
41.6 percent of the respondents gave the PUP a favorable rating, and 36.5 percent were unfavourable, with 19.1 percent expressing no opinion.
It should also be noted, that the PUP leadership was in transition when the poll was done.
Regarding Prime Minister Barrow’s economic policies, 21.5 percent said that they are better off with Barrow’s economic policies, while 39.5 percent said they are worse off, and 36.8 percent said the government’s economic policies had no impact on them.
32.4 percent favoured PM Barrow, while 46.9 percent were against and 19.3 percent had no opinion of him at all.
58 percent agree that Barrow is a strong leader, while 39.8 percent think not.
Respondents were also asked to state what they liked most about living in Belize. 23.3 percent said that they like the peaceful nature of Belize, and 20.7 percent said they like the freedom they enjoy in Belize.
Asked about what they liked least about living in Belize, 30.2 percent cited the increase of crime in the country.
Interestingly, only 5.6 percent factored corruption as issue.
The poll had a margin of error of about 3.10 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval.
The Independent began publication in November 2011, some two weeks after the poll was taken.