On Thursday, the University of the Virgin Islands announced the results of the University’s first Virgin Islands pre-election scientific poll* conducted by the University’s Institute for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (ILOE) in collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Center (ECC). The poll, which was conducted between Oct. 16-26, was done to obtain a representative sample of how the territory’s more than 44,000 registered voters feel about the candidates.
“This is a scientific poll,” said Dr. Haldane Davies, vice president for Business Development and Innovation. “We went to great lengths to ensure the validity of the estimates and to ensure that we were reaching out to a wide cross-section of individuals across the Virgin Islands.” SSRS, a full-service social science research firm located outside of Philadelphia, Pa was contracted to assist with the poll. Marketing Systems Group, a commercial firm, randomly selected 15,000 household and cellular phone numbers of persons throughout the territory. Six hundred and eighty-eight registered voters were interviewed.
Dr. Frank Mills, interim vice provost for Research and Public Service, said the poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percent. He cautioned voters not to see the poll as a statement of who would win the election today. The poll is a reflection of how voters felt at the time that they were surveyed. “We cannot say with any certainty who would be the winner,” he said. “It is still a probability sample, which means, within the context of that margin of error, there is no certainty.”
According to the poll, gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Mapp leads by a narrow margin of 5 percent over gubernatorial candidate Delegate Donna Christensen. When asked who would they vote for if elections were called at the time of the interview, 28 percent said they would vote for Mapp, as opposed to 23 percent who would vote for Christensen. Candidate Mona Barnes received five percent, and Soraya Diase Coffelt garnered four percent. Less than one percent said they would vote for Shelia Scullion.
Dr. Mills said that 29 percent of voters were undecided and that those voters could very well decide the winner of the gubernatorial race. “It is a dead heat with these two,” said Dr. Mills. “There is no guarantee that the one or the other is going to get to the finish line first. That is left for the 29 percent of voters to determine.” He said that these poll results would only accurately reflect the choice of voters for a few days, since the views of the electorate change over time. “What ever happened last week, does not guarantee that that’s what happening today,” he said.
In the Delegate to Congress race, Stacey Plaskett leads with 61 percent of voters. Candidate Vince Danet follows with seven percent support from voters.
For the Senatorial race, voters were asked if the 2014 general election for senator of the U.S. Virgin Islands were being held today, for whom would you vote? Select up to seven candidates. The list below represents the top seven candidates in the poll of senatorial elections on St. Croix, St. Thomas and the At-Large race:
St. Croix Senatorial Poll
- Kurt Vialet – 44 percent
- Terrence Nelson – 32 percent
- Novelle Francis, Jr. – 32 percent
- Kenneth Gittens – 29 percent
- Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly – 27 percent
- Sammuel Sanes – 27 percent
- Alicia Hansen – 26 percent
St. Thomas Senatorial Poll
- Marvin Blyden – 24 percent
- Jeane Forde – 24 percent
- Janette Millin Young – 23 percent
- Clifford Graham – 22 percent
- Myron Jackson – 22 percent
- Tregenza Roach – 19 percent
- Donald “Ducks” Cole – 19 percent
- Almando “Rocky” Liburd – 47 percent
- Ronnie E. Jones – 16 percent
The poll was conducted following the conclusion of a UVI-hosted series of candidate forums held in October. The forums featured Virgin Islands candidates in the upcoming election for senator, delegate to congress, lieutenant governor and governor. They took place on both St. Croix and St. Thomas, with three separate evening sessions on each island.
After the election, ILOE will host an Executive Leadership Forum for all individuals who have been elected to public office. “We believe it is our responsibility to ensure that our leaders are informed and that they are in a position to think creatively and function at a level that will make these Virgin Islands places of which we could all be proud,” said Dr. Davies.
A copy of the power point presentation including of the poll results is available from this link: Election Poll Results More on UVI’s Institute for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness is available online at iloe.uvi.edu.
* The results of the poll represent the responses of individuals that were polled throughout the territory and do not reflect the views or opinions of the UVI Board of Trustees, the president, the administration, staff, faculty or students.