DNA not gaining voter traction – pollster

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Electoral newcomer, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is not gaining any traction with voters, even as its leader is enjoying some popularity with the people, according to a recent poll.
The CADRES-executed survey, which was commissioned by the ruling Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), has indicated that the party enjoyed most of the support which was 36 percent.
The United Progressive Party (UPP) pulled in 24 percent while the DNA managed some five percent.
In contrast, 10 percent of the respondents favoured DNA leader Joanne Massiah to be the prime minister, illustrating the distance between her individual appeal and that of the party she co-founded.
The current prime minister, Gaston Browne led the polling for prime ministerial candidates with 49 percent while Harold Lovell, the UPP’s political leader tallied 26 percent.
“She (Massiah) seems to be gaining interest in terms of the national choice, but of course, the only way you can become a prime minister is if your party wins a majority of seats.
“So it looks as though she’s heading toward a situation where she does have personal popularity but the party is not going to gain a seat. But she’s doing considerable damage to the UPP brand as they go along,” Peter Wickham, the CADRES director told Observer AM Monday.
Massiah was booted from the UPP last year. She subsequently launched the DNA.
According to Wickham, CADRES has done constituency polling and while he could not reveal the findings, he indicated that Massiah, now an independent MP, is unlikely to retain her All Saints East and St. Luke seat. He did add that her level of popularity nationally was “encouraging.”
Asked whether the UPP and Massiah should reconcile, Wickham, a respected political commentator, responded that it may be too late.
“The question now is do they have enough time before the next election is called to mend fences and to move forward, and would Joanne Massiah be willing to consider something of that nature,” he stated.
According to Wickham, should the UPP do worse in the upcoming election than it did in the 2014 polls, it would have to reconsider Lovell’s stewardship and that could create an opportunity for Massiah to return.

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