HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) — A new opinion poll commissioned by the Royal Gazette newspaper shows the ruling One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) has built up a commanding 12-point lead over the Opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP), whose leadership has been hit by an internal rift.
MARC BEAN… has overseen a string of resignations from the Progressive Labour Party
In the survey, 42 per cent of registered voters said they would support the OBA if a general election was called now — the next is due in 2017 — compared to 30 per cent for the PLP, whose embattled leader Marc Bean is under pressure after seven members of his shadow cabinet resigned their posts over his leadership style.
Bean, 41, has led the PLP since the last election three years ago when former Premier Paula Cox was a high-profile casualty — losing her House of Assembly seat to OBA newcomer Glen Smith in Devonshire North West —as the PLP was booted from power after 14 years.
The remaining 28 per cent of those polled earlier this month declined to back either of the two parties.
It means the OBA now has a bigger lead over the PLP than at any time since its formation in the spring of 2011. In the
Gazette’s previous poll in May, the OBA was narrowly ahead by 36 to 33 per cent.
The telephone poll of 401 registered voters took place between December 8 and 14, and has a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent.
Performance approval ratings of the party leaders, which assess public perception of how well they are doing their job, show 57-year-old Premier Michael Dunkley, who is also national security minister, enjoying a 28-point lead over Bean.
Dunkley’s score of 48 per cent, a rise of four points since May, is the highest for a leader of the country since Cox achieved the same figure in January 2011, shortly after she took the top job, according to the newspaper.
Bean’s rating of 20 per cent represents a fall of four points since May.
Among the island’s minority whites, 84 per cent said they would vote OBA, up from 77 per cent in May; while two per cent said they would vote PLP, up from one per cent in May.
Among blacks, 49 per cent said they would vote PLP, down from 54 per cent in May, while 16 per cent of blacks said they would vote OBA, up from 10 per cent in May.
The next test for the PLP will be a by-election — the date of which has not yet been announced — in Devonshire North Central after Glenn Blakeney, one of the seven members who quit their shadow posts, resigned from politics for personal reasons.
Blakeney won by just 19 votes in the 2012 General Election over the OBA’s Anthony Francis.