From left to right, Sen. Kurt Vialet and Governor Albert Bryan. By REEMY-REEMZ PHOTOGRAPHY/VICONSORTIUM
Gubernatorial candidate Senator Kurt Vialet has the edge in the upcoming general election on Nov. 8, according to a new poll that shows the candidates tied in St. Thomas and in a statistical dead heat on St. Croix, while St. John shows Mr. Vialet surging ahead of the governor 66.7 percent to Mr. Bryan's 22.2 percent.
According to a poll from IAMLLC — whose primary election sample had Governor Albert Bryan holding a wide lead against the former contenders — Mr. Vialet and running mate Sen. Janelle Sarauw lead the gubernatorial race 44 percent to Mr. Bryan's and running mate Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach's 40.2 percent, a statistical dead heat based on IAMLLC's 4.74 percent margin of error.
In St. Thomas, the candidates are tied at 38.7 percent, according to the poll, while on St. Croix Mr. Vialet leads 46.4 percent to Mr. Bryan's 42.9 percent — a statistical toss-up.
According to the Elections System, 5,963 early votes were cast on St. Croix, which has a 445-vote lead over St. Thomas's 5,518. On St. John 368 votes were cast early.
IAMLLC said it could not determine whether those who participated in the polling were registered voters, stating in its late Monday release that "actual voters are an unknown population that only exists on (or with absentees, shortly before) Election Day."
Even so, the data analytics firm said it polled "the voting-age population of the USVI because the registered voter population is similar to the demographics of the adult population of the USVI."
IAMLLC said it sampled 381 participants, 224 on St. Croix and 199 in the St. Thomas-St. John District.
The firm said it conducted 279 non-overlapping online surveys and 144 phone surveys "to achieve the optimum mix of online and traditional sampling methods for the USVI's target population of Democrat voters," a method IAMLLC said is aimed at mitigating "any over or under-representation of any demographic within the survey sample."
In the St. Thomas-St. John District Senate race, Senators Milton Potter and Marvin Blyden lead first and second, while Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory trails in third place, according to the poll. Senators Dwayne DeGraff and Alma Francis Heyliger are fourth and fifth respectively, while candidate Dawn Lisa Henry, the former Dept. of Planning and Natural Resources commissioner, takes sixth place. Sen. Carla Joseph is in seventh place.
On St. Croix, Senators Kenneth Gittens and Franklin Johnson are first and second, respectively, while candidate Marise James comes in third. Sen. Novelle Francis is in fourth place, followed by Sen. Samuel Carrion in fifth, candidate Ophelia Williams-Jackson in sixth place, and Sen. Genevieve Whitaker in seventh, according to the poll, seen here.
Regarding education, IAMLLC said all three islands agreed that substandard building maintenance is the top issue. "However, inadequate teacher compensation is the second most crucial issue in St. Croix, while St. Thomas and St. John view inconsistency with curriculum and instruction as the second most vital issue," the firm said.
On the issue of the economy, the analytics firm said St. Croix participants chose an inadequate number of public healthcare providers as the top issue for healthcare, whereas St. Thomas participants chose the high cost of healthcare. St. John participants equally view an insufficient number of public healthcare providers and access to various medical specialists as critical issues, according to the poll.
Regarding the economy, all three islands agreed that the high cost of living and the high cost of doing business are the top issues affecting the economy of the USVI, IAMLLC said, adding that "the economic effects of corruption ranked the highest on St. Thomas."
On matters related to energy and infrastructure, IAMLLC said all three islands "agreed that WAPA facilities and equipment were the top priority for energy and infrastructure. However, St. Thomas ranked it the highest among all three islands."
Relative to law enforcement and public safety, the firm said "all three islands agreed that lack of confidence and trust is the top issue for their community. However, St. Croix chose an insufficient amount of officers as the second issue, whereas St. Thomas chose nepotism and cronyism. St. John respondents selected nepotism, cronyism, and an inadequate number of officers equally as the second issue."
A poll from the University of the Virgin Islands and V.I. Tech Stack, released late September, showed Governor Bryan with a wide lead of 22.8 percent over Mr. Vialet.