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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN2027
2006-11-17 21:24:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

ST. LUCIA ELECTIONS DECEMBER 11; COMPETING

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINR  ST  XL 
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3734
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1565
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 002027 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR AND INR/IAA
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ST XL
SUBJECT: ST. LUCIA ELECTIONS DECEMBER 11; COMPETING
POLLSTERS CONFLICT IN PREDICTING VICTORY

REF: BRIDGETOWN 1946

Classified By: DCM Mary Ellen T. Gilroy for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 002027

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR AND INR/IAA
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ST XL
SUBJECT: ST. LUCIA ELECTIONS DECEMBER 11; COMPETING
POLLSTERS CONFLICT IN PREDICTING VICTORY

REF: BRIDGETOWN 1946

Classified By: DCM Mary Ellen T. Gilroy for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).


1. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Anthony announced that St.
Lucian elections will be held on December 11. Two key polls
have predicted conflicting outcomes for the elections. The
track record of the pollster predicting that the ruling party
will retain its majority in Parliament seems to be the more
reliable. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) On November 16, St. Lucia's PM Kenny Anthony announced
that parliamentary elections will be held December 11, 2006.
If PM Anthony's St. Lucian Labour Party (SLP) wins, it will
mean a precedent-making third term for the ruling party.
Previous to its current administration (1997-present), the
SLP held power from 1979-82. PM Anthony pushed the date for
this election to the limit: constitutionally, elections
should be held every five years. The last elections took
place December 3, 2001.

Dueling Pollsters
--------------


3. (U) Two polls, financed respectively by the two major
political parties, reached contradictory predictions of the
outcome of the upcoming elections. The Caribbean Development
Research Services, Inc. (CADRES), retained by the ruling St.
Lucian Labour Party (SLP), predicted an SLP victory.
According to the CADRES poll conducted in October 2006, 34
percent of those surveyed preferred the SLP, while 28 percent
supported the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), with a
margin of error of 5 percent at the national level. The
polling results of an American firm hired by the UWP showed
that the challengers were ahead in 11 of 17 districts, with
two more leaning toward the UWP.


4. (U) In the CADRES poll, 37 percent of those surveyed
refused to say which party they support and were labeled
"uncertain voters." To bolster its prediction of an SLP
victory, CADRES noted that, when comparing this year's data

to that of a November 2005 survey, voters' references reflect
a 10 percent upswing in favor of the SLP against an 8 percent
drop in UWP popularity. Furthermore, 29 percent of the
"uncertain voters" placed greater confidence in the SLP to
lead St. Lucia, while 18 percent were more confident in the
UWP's ability. Finally, those surveyed were asked their
preferred choice for Prime Minister, with 47 percent choosing
SLP leader and standing Prime Minister Anthony, while only 29
percent supported veteran UWP leader (and former Prime
Minister, 1964-79 and 1982-96) Sir John Compton. This
outcome is a notable change from the 2005 data in which only
39 percent preferred PM Anthony to 40 percent for Compton.
To date, CADRES claims to have achieved 100 percent accuracy
in pre-election polling in the Eastern Caribbean.


5. (C) The UWP hired an American firm to conduct a poll in
late October 2006. Although post has not yet received a copy
of the results, a UWP figure reported to PolOff that the
methodology of this poll focused more on individual districts
than the CADRES poll. According to the UWP source, the
results show that the UWP is clearly ahead in 11 districts,
the SLP is ahead in four, with two seats too close to call,
but likely to go to the UWP. The UWP-funded poll results
also indicated a near dead heat in voter preference for prime
minister, with Compton ahead of Anthony by just one or two
points.

Polling Challenges
--------------


6. (C) Political consultant Peter Wickham, head of CADRES,
explained to PolOff why district polling tends to be
unreliable in Eastern Caribbean islands. According to
Wickham, it is unwise to place confidence in results based on
district seats because of the difficulty in surveying an
appropriate sample size. Wickham explained that to have
accurate district data, a sample size of roughly 1000 voters
would have to be surveyed in each district, which is
challenging in the Eastern Caribbean for two reasons.
Because the population of each district is small, too large a
sample results in oversampling of the necessary clusters.
Second, obtaining accurate results from that many people is
neither culturally nor logistically feasible (NFI).
Therefore, although elections are won by individual district

results, survey data attempting to predict outcomes by
district are unreliable, according to Wickham. He further
stated that, from his extensive experience as a Caribbean
pollster, district polling is not necessary because national
polling trends commonly reflect district results. Coupling
his statistical knowledge with his personal observations of
the St. Lucia campaign, Wickham predicts that the UWP will
gain a couple seats, but that the SLP will retain its
majority--currently 13 of 17 seats.

Comment
--------------


7. (C) CADRES's statistical methodology uses formulas the
firm developed to account for unique characteristics of
Eastern Caribbean populations. Wickham credits his "100
percent success rate" at calling elections to this specially
tailored methodology. Three weeks away from election day,
CADRES's prediction of an SLP victory seems sound and is
consistent with post's analysis (reftel). Furthermore,
general momentum, as seen in the press, at political rallies,
and in the form of banners and posters around the capital
Castries, appears to reflect the ruling party's stronger
position.
OURISMAN