The University of the Virgin Islands Thursday released the results of its first pre-election scientific poll* for the U.S. Virgin Islands conducted by the University’s Institute for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (ILOE) in collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Center (ECC).
Polling was conducted Oct. 16-26 in an effort 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,” noted 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.”
Davies pointed out that SSRS, a full-service social science research firm located in a Philadelphia suburb, was contracted to assist in the process. Marketing Systems Group, a commercial firm, randomly selected 15,000 household and cellular phone numbers of territory residents, of which 688 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 view the results as a statement of who would win the election on November 4; rather, it is a reflection of how voters felt at the time they were surveyed.
“We cannot say with any certainty who would be the winner,”Mills said. “It is still a probability sample, which means, within the context of that margin of error, there is no certainty.”
According to poll results, gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Mapp leads by a narrow margin of 5 percent over gubernatorial candidate Delegate Donna Christensen. When asked whom would they vote for if elections were called at the time of the interview, 28 percent of respondents said they would vote for Mapp, in comparison to 23 percent who would vote for Christensen. Candidate Mona Barnes received 5 percent, and Soraya Diase-Coffelt garnered 4 percent. Less than one percent of those polled said they would vote for Shelia Scullion.
Dr. Mills pointed out that 29 percent of voters were undecided and said those voters could decide the winner of the gubernatorial race.
“It is a dead heat with these two,” said Dr. Mills of Mapp and Christensen. “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.”
Mills went on to say the poll results would only accurately reflect the choice of voters for a few days, since the views of the electorate often 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 the votes, while Vince Danet follows with seven percent.
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? They were given up to seven candidates from which to choose. The list below represents the results of the poll for the top seven senatorial candidates on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and the At-Large race:
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
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 on both the St. Croix and St. Thomas campuses.
A copy of the power point presentation, including the poll results is available from Election Poll Results.
* 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.