BRIDGETOWN, May 20, CMC – A poll published in the Sunday Sun newspaper said Barbadians preferred the three-term former prime minister Owen Arthur registering strong disapproval of caretaker prime minister, Freundel Stuart, but suggested voters were ready to choose a woman to lead the country for the first time.
A survey by Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), the polling organisation of the regional pollster Peter Wickham also showed widespread dissatisfaction with the government under the current leader Freundel Stuart, whom voters put at the bottom of the list of the top four preferred leaders.
The poll, of 1,080 respondents in all 30 constituencies was conducted last weekend gave Stuart only 29 per cent approval rating, a year and a half after he assumed leadership on the death of Prime Minister David Thompson from pancreatic cancer. Stuart’s disapproval rating was 43 per cent with an undecided 28 per cent.
Among preferred leaders, Arthur led with 29.8 per cent, but only slightly ahead of Mottley at 25.5 per cent.
Arthur, prime minister from 1994 to 2008, ousted then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley to lead the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) after a bruising public battle. But while voters appeared to forgive Arthur, they named Mottley the second-most preferred leader.
Mottley was on course to be a likely first woman prime minister as opinion polls favour a return to power for the BLP with general elections here constitutionally due by January next year.
The CADRES polls suggested a national swing against the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government but said voters favoured Stuart’s finance minister Chris Sinckler over the prime minister by a two-to-one margin.
Sinckler placed third on the list of preferred prime ministers at 19.9 per cent, with Stuart — the attorney general who assumed leadership of the government and party in the last months of Thompson’s terminal illness – trailing at 9.9 per cent.