A new poll conducted by VI Tech Stack, a firm venerable in the polling business, in conjunction with the University of the Virgin Islands shows Governor Kenneth Mapp in a dead heat with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Albert Byran, with Mr. Bryan commanding a majority of voters polled in St. Thomas and St. John, and Mr. Mapp maintaining a solid lead on St. Croix.
The poll, conducted between September 29 and October 1, is the first reliable polling that gives a glimpse into the territory’s electorate, most of whom remain undecided less than one month before the general election on November 6.
Territory-wide, the poll shows Mr. Bryan and Mr. Mapp tied at 23 percent each, with a staggering 33 percent of voters still undecided. On St. Croix, the governor leads Mr. Bryan 32 percent to 17 percent, with 32 percent of respondents undecided. On St. Thomas, Mr. Bryan commands 29 percent of the vote, while the governor managed 13 percent. The undecided percentage in the St. Thomas-St. John District topped St. Croix, with 35 percent of voters yet to decide who they will cast their ballot for on November 6.
Coming in third place territory-wide was Warren Mosler with 7 percent, followed by Adlah Donastorg in fourth place with 6 percent, Soraya Diase Coffelt in fifth place with 5 percent, and Janette Millin Young and Moleto Smith tied at 1 percent.
In the St. Thomas-St. John District, Ms. Coffelt came in third place with 8 percent, followed by Mr. Donastorg with 7 percent, Mr. Mosler in fifth place with 4 percent, and Mr. Smith and Ms. Young tied at 2 percent.
In the St. Croix District, Mr. Mosler came in third place with 10 percent of the votes, followed by Mr. Donastorg in fourth place with 5 percent of the votes, Ms. Coffelt with 3 percent and Mr. Smith and Ms. Young tied at 1 percent.
According to the poll, Mr. Mapp’s image in the St. Thomas-St. John District polls high as very unfavorable at 31 percent (only 8 percent of respondents viewed the governor as very favorable in the St. Thomas-St. John District), which reflects in the polling results. Mr. Bryan, by contrast, polls high in St. Thomas as a very favorable candidate, with 31 percent of respondents having a positive view of the Democrat. On St. Croix, the governor’s very unfavorable percentage drops to 19 percent, while his very favorable rating climbs to 22 percent.
The polling found that Mr. Mapp’s free tuition initiative resonated with Virgin Islanders across the territory, with 61 percent of respondents in the St. Thomas-St. John District approving the effort, while 72 percent of respondents in the St. Croix District approve. Territory-wide, 61 percent of Virgin Islanders are in support of the measure.
Relative to the governor’s work following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, his support on St. Croix proved strong, according to the poll, with 36 percent of respondents strongly approving while another 27 percent somewhat approve. In the St. Thomas-St. John District, only 13 percent strongly approved, 24 percent somewhat approved, while 28 percent strongly disapproved of the governor’s efforts following the 2017 storms.
On the economy, Mr. Mapp’s work was in question by a majority of respondents in both districts, although St. Croix’s results were mixed. On St. Croix, 37 percent of respondents approved of the governor’s handling of the economy, while 38 percent disapproved. In the St. Thomas St. John District, an astonishing 63 percent disapproved of the governor’s handling of the economy, leading to a territory-wide percentage of 26 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval.