ST. CROIX — A new poll conducted by a team with a history of accuracy has Senate candidates Allison DeGazon and Alicia Barnes in a statistical dead heat, with Ms. DeGazon edging out her Democratic counterpart Alicia Barnes, who won the most votes during the Democratic Primary Election on August 4. With the poll having a margin of error of 5.6 percent, the battle between the two remains too close to call.
The poll was conducted by John Boyd, who has a 35-year history of conducting polls in the territory. In 2002, Mr. Boyd’s poll predicted that Charles W. Turnbull would beat Roy Lester Schneider without a runoff election. The poll was questioned by some and derided by others, but once the election was over, it proved to be solid.
“Every election cycle, there are about 6 polls being run in the Virgin Islands. I have run polls over the past 35 years with good accuracy. My pinnacle was probably 2002 when I picked all 8 eight candidates in proper order and projected that Governor Turnbull would win without a run off. The chance of picking eight in order by a random guess is about one in forty thousand,” Mr. Boyd wrote in notes accompanying the poll, which was published on Saturday.
A poll for the Senate race on St. Thomas was not conducted.
Mr. Boyd said 306 people were interviewed for the poll between September 15 and October 15. He said a “sidewalk” methodology was employed, which he explained as being “exactly the same method used to interview St. Thomas residents to gather evidence for the Tutu Well litigation.” The case was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and won the territory millions.
According to the Boyd polling results, Ms. DeGaZon up to October 15 led with 54 percent of respondents, followed by Ms. Barnes with 50 percent. In third place was Kurt Vialet with 43 percent of the votes, followed by Michael Springer with 36 percent, Novelle Francis with 35, and Kenneth Gittens with 32 percent. The seventh spot was deemed a wide open battle between Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal (27 percent), Javan James (26 percent), and Oakland Benta (24 percent).
Below, analysis of the results from Mr. Boyd.
“There is an old joke that when the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem is a nail. The Central Limit Theorem is a very poor tool to use to select seven winners out of 22 candidates, when each of 15,000 voters can choose seven candidates. However, at this time it is the only tool available. However in all of my polling history, no one (including me has ever forecast all seven in proper order. To claim this is accurate to plus or minus 5.6% is obviously wrong and always has been. Even more counter intuitive, the lower the percentage, the lower margin of error. In my 35 years of polling, it has never happened that way.
“In my analysis, I will say that the list is logical and I personally believe that any candidate not on the list above will not win.
“DeGazon and Barnes are two lovely and popular women who have worked hard in party politics and government. They will bump last election’s dynamic duo of Vialet and Francis down a notch or two. A probable reason is their votes on the sin tax and the tax targeting poorer seniors, veterans and homesteaders.
“In forth place, Michael Springer is a popular businessman who has run for the Senate in the past. After Hovensa shut down, he decided to invest in creating two popular and successful businesses (The Bungalow and Nikki’s Wings and Things) in Christiansted, when others were abandoning St. Croix. These successful operations seemed to have expanded his base of support.
“Gittens and Belardo de ONeal are both former senators with Gittens being the more recent one and thus a known entity. However, if Belardo is perceived as the only strong advocate for Hispanics with Hansen, O’ Reilly and Sanes gone from the Senate, there could be a quiet army of support for her that I missed measuring. Benta is a popular former policeman and James is a young community activist.”[embeddoc url=”https://viconsortium.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Polling-Tables-final-1.doc” viewer=”microsoft”]