A veteran pollster has revealed that five candidates for the United Progressive Party (UPP) are gaining ground in their respective constituencies amid a swing away from the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP).
During an Observer AM interview yesterday, Linley Winter said his research shows that the UPP has pulled ahead in the constituencies of St Mary’s North where Johnathan Joseph will come up against incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) Molwyn Joseph; St Mary’s South where Cortwright Marshall will face off against sitting MP Samantha Marshall; and in All Saints West where sitting MP Michael Browne will come up against the UPP’s Anthony Smith.
The poll is also showing that the UPP has surpassed the competition in St George where Algernon ‘Serpent’ Watts will come up against the ABLP’s Dean Jonas, and in St John’s City East where the Political Leader of the UPP Harold Lovell will come up against the incumbent Melford Nicholas of the ABLP.
“In all of those cases, the lead is 10 percent or more,” he said, noting that only seven constituencies were polled during the exercises that were not conducted over the same time period due to the availability of funding.
“In one case the swing is almost 15 percent but the incumbent is not behind so that suggests for that particular constituency you need a swing closer to 17 percent to make that [a UPP win] a reality,” he explained further.
He said in another case, the swing is 8.29 percent which is not enough to overtake the incumbent, in spite of that current MP losing about 16 percent of their vote share.
While Winter was tightlipped on the outcome of polling in the other two constituencies – St John’s Rural South and St John’s Rural North – he indicated there was a tie in one of the constituencies and the ABLP is “just outside of five points ahead” of the UPP in the other.
On the question of whether these outcomes will carry through to the next general election, Winter said, “Your guess is as good as mine and what the parties do to persuade the voters will be an important determination of how they are able to maintain or overtake their rivals in that regard.”