Against the background of much speculation in the public domain regarding recent polling in Antigua and Barbuda, CADRES has secured permission from our client to release limited details of polling conducted by us during the course of 2022.
Two rounds of polling were conducted by CADRES in constituencies which were selected to render a reliable appreciation of the national political mood at this time. It should be noted that constituencies where the ABLP was strongest in the 2018 election were not polled on either occasion for obvious reasons.
The first round of polling was conducted during April/May of 2022 and our assessment was that the ABLP would have prevailed if an election were called at the time of polling. Notwithstanding, Antiguans were very anxious about the water situation and were equally concerned about the ability of the country to recover from the impact of COVID, especially in the economic and educational realms. Leadership preferences were considered in each constituency; however, the options were restricted to the leaders of the three active political parties (ABLP, UPP and DNA) and PM Browne was preferred to the UPP’s leader, Harold Lovell and the DNA’s leader Joanne Massiah, in a majority of cases.
The second round of polling was conducted during October and restricted to some of the same constituencies, along with two that were not polled in April/May. On this more recent occasion, the ABLP was either leading or competitive in all constituencies polled, suggesting that it would prevail as a government if an election were called at that the time. Notwithstanding, Antiguans remain concerned about several issues, not least of which is the availability and cost of Water and Electricity, along with Employment and several infrastructural issues, including roads.
The issue of water was fully explored and while some Antiguans agreed that the situation had improved, several were still of the opinion that it was unsatisfactory. On this occasion, the leadership preference scenario was also tested and persons in all but one constituency preferred PM Browne. In that one, the majority was unsure or preferred not to say which leader they preferred.
There has been keen interest in the St Peter’s constituency where former ABLP Minister Asot Michael is contesting as an independent, therefore this riding was specially included in the constituency analysis. CADRES projected that if an election were called at the time of polling, the ABLP’s Turner would have emerged with the single largest block of support, while the UPP’s Harriette was likely to gain the second most support and independent Asot Michael, the least support from prospective voters. CADRES considered comparative cases across the region where independent candidates contested and noted that an independent would need to gain the support of no less than 20% of voters to be viable and Michael did not attain that threshold.
The other significant finding relates to the DNA, which did not appear viable in any of the constituencies surveyed, which was also the case in the April/May surveys when the DNA did not have its slate of candidates in place. CADRES is therefore of the opinion that the coming election will be a contest between the two traditional parties, with the ABLP leading in a majority of constituencies at this time.