Poll gives opposition party best chance to win general election

NNP leader Dr Keith Mitchell, left, and Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jan 28, CMC – The main opposition New National Party (NNP) is likely to win the February 19 general elections with more seats than it had before it was swept out of power in 2008, according to a new opinion poll published here on Monday.

The poll by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services Inc (CADRES) predicts that the NNP, which lost the 2008 election by an 11-4 margin, is benefitting from an 11 per cent swing away from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

According to the results of the poll more Grenadians are in favour of former prime minister and NNP leader Dr. Keith Mitchell heading a government than the incumbent Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

The poll conducted between January 18-21 after Prime Minister Thomas announced the date for the general election, shows that “57 per cent of Grenadians would prefer Dr. Keith Mitchell to be their Prime Minister, while 33 per cent would prefer Mr. Tillman Thomas to remain as Prime Minister”.

“The major political finding of the survey is that there has been a decisive swing against the governing NDC which CADRES measured at 11 per cent.

“The opposition NNP is the sole beneficiary of this swing away from the NDC and this demonstrates that the two-party political conversation is still very much a reality in Grenada; it further indicates that the NDC off-shoot the National Unity Front (NUF) has not at this time stimulated the political interest of Grenadians,” CADRES said.

It said that the projected 11 per cent swing towards the NNP needs to be placed in the context of the 2008 election when the swing against the NNP was -0.4 per cent but was significant enough to cause its defeat.

“On this occasion the political pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, and it would appear as though Grenadians will return the NNP to office with a majority that is more generous than that which it enjoyed before the 2008 election.”

CADRES said that the poll also showed that voters were very much concerned about economic issues on the island with “the single largest quantity of persons in the survey (48 per cent) were most concerned about the Cost of Living at this time, while a further 23 per cent are concerned about Employment and 15 per cent about the Economy.

“Cumulatively it can be seen that 86 per cent of Grenadians are preoccupied with matters of an economic nature at this time and have presumably cast blame on the governing NDC for these problems in much the same way that governments have been held accountable regionally and internationally for the recession.
“Consistent with this view, some 49 per cent of Grenadians polled indicated that they believed that Grenada was currently on the “Wrong Track”, with 25 per cent believing the country to be on the “Right Track”, and the remainder (27 per cent) declining to answer the question.”

The poll also found that despite the preoccupation with economic matters,  Grenadians have confidence in the governing and opposing political parties and that 30 per cent of those questioned still repose confidence in the NDC, while 49 per cent have confidence in the NNP to run their affairs, “which suggests that Grenadians do not believe that the NDC has the capacity to help them navigate these tempestuous economic waters”.

CADRES said that while the poll was not intended to “speak to constituency outcomes”  the data collected “at the constituency level is consistent with the national trends which at this time point to a change of government.

“The margin of victory at the national level will however depend largely on the extent to which individual candidates apply themselves over the next three weeks of this campaign,” it added.