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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The first scientific public opinion poll conducted in Belize has revealed an interesting perspective on what Belizeans are most concerned about – crime and the economy. The poll commissioned by The Independent newspaper of Belize was carried out late last year by Greg Strimple of the Boise, Idaho, U.S.A. based GS Strategy Group – an independent and highly regarded public opinion and research and consultancy group.

The analysis unveiled today at a press conference held at the Belize Chamber of Commerce in Belize city provides a wealth of information on the pulse of Belizeans and what concerns them the most over a wide range of social, economic and political issues.

About The Poll

Borge y Asociados, a public opinion research firm based in Costa Rica, conducted a survey of 1008 eligible Belizean voters from October 7 through October 18, 2011. GSSG designed the questionnaire and provided the analysis. All the inter views were conducted in person-face-to-face. The margin of error for the resulting survey data is +/-3.10% at a 95% confidence interval.

A two stage strata methodology was used to select the sample. In the first stage, distribution of the interviews was determined according to the weight of each Electoral Division as reported by the Elections and Boundaries Department of the Government of Belize.

In the second stage, a simple random selection of the primary sample unit was conducted. In this case, the sample unit was the neighborhoods surrounding the voting centers.

Participants were screened to include only men and women with Belizean identification that permitted them to vote at the time the survey was conducted. They were asked their likelihood of voting.

Belize Public Opinion Survey Findings

Fielding questions from reporters today, Mr. Strimple gave an overview of the Belize public opinion poll findings.

“What we found out is pretty interesting which is that people are very proud of their country here in Belize. They are very concerned about what they see as a peaceful, nice place to live is wracked by crime. Despite their concerns about the crime, their concerns about the economy are even higher. They are of two minds on the economy in the sense that they very much believe that foreign investment is critical to driving the economy, but at the same time they want a watchdog on that."

Mr. Strimple added that "We asked what's the most important issue facing the country and again this is the top five responses from a quoted open ended question, the number one issue at 38.9% was the crime rate but when you combine the economy and the need for jobs, those two responses came in at 49.9%. Government corruption was at 5 and education was at 2.

“We asked which was the following issues is most important to you and actually gave them responses, the country's economic issues including more business investment, job creation, rising cost of living was number one at 46% then fighting crime and drugs and gangs was number two at 39% so it almost mirrored the open end responses in terms of what people were concerned about and then government corruption came in at 8%. So again we are seeing a fairly consistent pattern about crime and economy being two top issues, far overshadowing what people are concerned about in terms of corruption."

On the issue of political leadership and how Belizeans view the ruling United Democratic Party and the opposition Peoples United Party, the poll shows that the UDP and Prime Minister Dean Barrow have low approval ratings and that in the current climate, the Peoples United Party has a clear lead over the governing party.

"Who do trust most to get Belize's economy going again? 34% said private companies, 24% said the PUP and 20% said Dean Barrow and the U.D.P.

“Do you a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the UDP? 35% of the folks said favorable, 42% said unfavorable.We asked whether you say unfavorable or favorable to Dean Barrow, 32% said favorable, 47% said unfavorable.

“We asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the PUP, 42% had a favorable opinion, 37% had a unfavorable opinion, a slightly net positive. "

Belize Public Opinion Survey - Economic Future

Public Survey Table January 2012 - What Belizeans Think Of Their Economic Future. (Click For Larger Image)

Speaking on a television talk show on Thursday following the press conference, Mr. Strimple pointed to further findings that intrigued him about Belize. One was that between 30 and 35 per cent of the electorate are uncommitted and float between the two main political parties. The other was that only 3.4% described themselves as retired indicating that perhaps people’s economic situation is so dire that they cannot afford to retire.

Reaction To The Poll Findings

Public opinion polls have been conducted in Belize in the past but these have been very small and in some cases flawed by being carried out by inexperienced pollsters with no track record. The survey by the GS Strategy Group provides a gold mine of verifiable data that has taken a snapshot of public opinion in Belize like no other polls has done previously. Editor of The Independent Glenn Tillet stated today that the newspaper will try to do another poll of the same caliber before the upcoming general elections. Belize is preparing for countrywide municipal elections in March of this year and it is believed that General Elections will follow shortly thereafter.

Under the Belize political system and unlike other democracies that have set dates for elections, General Elections are held on a date selected by the ruling party which needs give only 30 days notice.

The ruling United Democratic Party is believed to be on a downward spiral and this poll appears to confirm it. The party newspaper organ “The Guardian” today headlined its coverage of the poll as “Simple Strimple And His Play Play Poll”, aptly capturing the level of political discourse in the country which focuses on shooting the messenger.

The Chairman of the United Democratic Party and Minister of Education Patrick Faber took this a step further today by calling in to the talk show and describing the GS Strategy poll conducted by Mr. Strimple as “bogus and flawed”. Ironically Mr. Faber stated that the highest body in the U.D.P, the Central Party Council will meet this Saturday to review the public opinion survey.

Suggesting that the findings of the public opinion survey may have spooked the ruling party, the Minister Of Information John Saldivar announced today that Prime Minister Barrow will initiate a countrywide public consultation tour this weekend.

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
Who funded this poll and who are the backers of the new newspaper? Til you have the answers to those questions, these results are meaningless.

Belize based travel specialist
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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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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 Brice�o 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, Brice�o 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.

The Reporter

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