Pollster Peter Wickham is predicting a more than five per cent swing away from the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) during today’s general election, well over the two per cent needed for a change of Government.
And dismissing the fringe parties’ chances, the political scientist said the signs point to a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) victory.
“The historic reality is that we have small swing elections and big swing elections. 2013 was clearly a small swing election; this one is likely to be a big swing election, largely because the two follow in sequence. So even if I were to set aside any poll data and say, ‘let’s look at it purely in terms of history’, we are looking at a swing in excess of five per cent, bearing in mind that the swing needed to change the Government is less than two per cent,” Wickham told online newspaper Barbados Today.
However, he refused to project a seat count, although he anticipated that the BLP’s Kirk Humphrey, whom he described as one of the most effective communicators in the region, would give Prime Minister Freundel Stuart a run for his money in St. Michael South.
According to Caribbean 360 News, the last opinion poll conducted by Wickham’s Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) in June last year found that 52 per cent of Barbadians preferred the BLP’s Mia Mottley as leader, compared to only eight per cent in favour of Stuart.
The CADRES poll also found that 70 per cent of those surveyed at the time were dissatisfied with the DLP administration, while 71 per cent said it was time for a change of Government.
The DLP is seeking a third term in office, while the BLP is looking to make history by electing Mia Mottley as the country’s first female Prime Minister.
If Mottley becomes victorious, she will join the likes of the late Dame Eugenia Charles of Dominica, Janet Jagan of Guyana, Portia Simpson Miller in Jamaica and Kamla Persad Bissessar in Trinidad and Tobago in heading a government in the CARICOM region.