The One Bermuda Alliance has increased its public support to half of the popular vote, according to a poll commissioned this week by The Royal Gazette.
Asked by Global Research who they would vote for in a General Election, 50 per cent of registered voters said the OBA, 39 per cent said the Progressive Labour Party and 2 per cent said independent candidates, with 6 per cent undecided and 3 per cent refusing to answer. With the poll also showing a clear rise in confidence in the economy, it means the OBA has a 50-39 lead over the PLP, stretching its advantage from six points in May to 11 points now.
However, while the survey remains a guide to both parties’ popularity across the island, it should not be considered a simple predictor for Tuesday’s election. Most observers have long concluded that, under the first-past-the-post system, the result will be decided by the outcome of a handful of constituencies involving tight races between individual OBA and PLP candidates.
But the poll does show that the ruling party is enjoying its highest share of public support since coming to power in 2012.
The OBA’s previous best score was 44 per cent in May, and a study of its ratings over the past two years shows its popularity has tended to peak with America’s Cup activity on the island, including reaching 42 per cent in December 2015, shortly after the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda.
The PLP, meanwhile, has remained in the 30s for the past two years. Its score of 39 is up one point on two months ago.
Public faith in the economy, and in particular finance minister Bob Richards, has also shot up in the past two months.
Some 44 per cent of voters told pollsters they were confident in the direction of Bermuda’s economy, up from 29 per cent in May, and higher than any point since the early days of the financial crisis in November 2007.
Among whites, 72 per cent are confident in the economy, up from 60 per cent; among blacks, 27 per cent are confident, up from 10 per cent.
The OBA also has a 44-22 lead in the performance approval ratings, up from 29-21 two months ago.
A breakdown by race shows both parties are strong among their traditional racial bases, with the OBA also scoring well with those describing themselves as neither black nor white.Among whites, 94 per cent said they would vote OBA, up from 93 per cent; and 3 per cent would vote PLP, up from 1 per cent.
Among blacks, 61 per cent would vote PLP, down from 63 per cent; and 26 per cent would vote OBA, up from 13 per cent.
Among other races, 59 per cent would vote OBA, and 20 per cent PLP.
The OBA comfortably has the male vote (57-36) with the female vote split (44 OBA, 42 PLP).
A breakdown by age shows the OBA is winning every category, including the over 65 group, by 52-42.
A breakdown by area — based on parish boundaries as opposed to constituency boundaries — shows the OBA has edged in front in the St George’s Parish election battleground, by 48-41; two months ago, the score was 42-42. In Pembroke, the PLP is leading 47-45.
Michael Dunkley, the Premier, remains the most popular of the party leaders, with a 44 per cent approval rating, up from 37 per cent.
Mr Dunkley is backed by 76 per cent of whites and 24 per cent of blacks, up five points and eight points respectively. He fares well among men and the over 65 age group, with 50 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.
Opposition leader David Burt has an approval rating of 29 per cent, unchanged from May. He is backed by 44 per cent of blacks and 5 per cent of whites, down two points and up four points respectively.
Mr Richards, the OBA deputy leader, has an approval rating of 40 per cent, up from 25 per cent. He scores 71 per cent among whites, up 19 points; and 20 per cent among blacks, up 13 points.
Walter Roban, the deputy leader of the PLP, has an approval rating of 17 per cent, down four points. He is backed by 27 per cent of blacks, down five points; and 2 per cent of whites, down one point.
General favourability ratings show Mr Dunkley on 47 per cent (up four points); ahead of Mr Richards on 38 per cent (up 12 points); Mr Burt 33 per cent (unchanged); and Mr Roban 22 per cent (down one point).
Voters were also asked their reasons for voting OBA or PLP. Among those voting OBA, 41 per cent cited its efforts in revitalising the economy or ability to manage the country’s finances. Among those voting PLP, 35 per cent said the party worked for the people’s best interests.
The telephone poll of 400 registered voters took place between Tuesday and Thursday and has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent.
• For a full breakdown of the results, click on the PDF under “Related Media”
• Comments are closed on political content from July 4 to 19 to stem the flow of purposefully inflammatory and litigious comments during the General Election cycle. Users who introduce extreme partisan comments into other news content will be banned.