Peter Wickham
Peter Wickham

A public opinion poll conducted by Peter Wickham from Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) predicts that the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) under the leadership of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit will win the next general elections.

Wickham revealed on October 29, 2014 that the poll was conducted between the 17th and 20th of October 2014. He said that 48 persons from each 21 constituencies were interviewed at their residence and persons from every third house of that constituency were selected.

Wickham announced that the public opinion poll shows that there has been a swing of -2% away from the DLP and a swing of 4% towards the UWP.

"The most significant observations of this last poll public opinion poll is the national swing. The national swing is a figure generated by CADRES; it's an estimation based on the change in party support between last election and this election...What are seeing at this time is there has been a swing of -2% points away from the DLP and a swing of 4% towards the United Workers Party. This variation between the two projections is the result simply of the fact that the swing estimation that we use relies on historical data and the history of Dominica," he said.

He added that there will be four seats where the DLP may lose and will have to fight to on hold on to them as well as fight to win Roseau Central, a seat of the UWP.

"We are estimating that this election will be fought in basically four seats that are the battle ground for the Dominica Labour Party, these seats the DLP currently holds. So they will fight to hold on to Roseau North, Wesley, La Plaine, Maune Jaune and Roseau Central which is a UWP seat. We imagine that the UWP will fight to hold on to that one and that will be the most logical seat that the DLP would be able to grow their support in," said Wickham.

He continued: "In terms of actually party support, what we found was 43% of respondents indicated that they will vote for the DLP while 30% promise to support the UWP. 13% of respondents say they were unsure which party they will support and 14% refused to tell us who they will vote for.

"The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) maintains at this time 0.4% support, these are people who identify themselves as DFP supporters and least to say they are not fielding any candidates that level of support is not really relevant."

Wickham said that from the survey the main issues of concern for the people were employment, cost of living and the economy.

"The issues of concern to Dominicans, that's one of the things we asked in the survey, the single largest number of people say employment was there main concern (31%), and 22% were concerned about the cost of living and 16% were concerned about the economy."

A gauge was also used where people were asked whether they believe the country is on the right track; 42% of the people said the country is on the right track whilst 38 people said no.

"I found this significant that if we compare the number of people who said the country is one the wrong track but the quantity of people who supported the UWP, we have a deficit of 8% suggesting that there are Dominicans who feel the country is on the wrong track but are not yet prepared to support the UWP," he said.

He said that when the people were asked to rate the two leaders based on leadership, on average Dominicans gave the Prime Minister 6.4 while Lennox Linton received 4.7.

"On the issue of leadership…we ask the people to rate the leaders from 1-10; this is of course seen as being a fair measure where we ask people, all people regardless of political opinion, to respond to each leader and give each leader a rating or score 1 being the worst, 10 being the best. What we found was that on average Dominicans give Prime Minister Skerrit a score of 6.4 while opposition leader Lennox Linton was given a score of 4.7."

The uncertain voters gave the Prime Minister a rating of 5.7 and Lennox Linton 4.3. In terms of preference 63% of Dominicans prefer the Prime Minister as leader of the country and 37% of the people said they would prefer Lennox Linton.

The poll results are being actively promoted by the ruling party as it intensifies it election campaign. In response to the poll, UWP leaders said their party has conducted its own poll which shows that the UWP is in the lead.