Published On: Mon, Dec 17th, 2012

Bermuda heads to the polls

HAMILTON, Bermuda – Voters in Bermuda go to the polls on Monday to elect a new government in general elections called last month by Premier Paula Cox.

However, the latest opinion polls published by a local daily newspaper, the Royal Gazette, show the opposition One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) leading the ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP) by 13 percentage points.

Notwithstanding that strong lead, the newspaper said it is still very difficult to predict a winner of the election because of the large number (25 percent) of undecided voters, up from 13 percent in September.

As expected, jobs and the economy have been the key issues in the election campaign, with a large majority of residents expressing dissatisfaction with the island’s economic direction.

A corresponding majority expressed a belief that the OBA was the party best able to bring the island out of recession.

According to the Royal Gazette, another reason why the election is hard to predict is the make-up of Bermuda’s constituencies, which gives the PLP an edge in terms of safe seats. The PLP can, the newspaper said, conservatively, count on around 13 seats that are virtually impossible to lose. By comparison, the OBA has perhaps seven it can absolutely count on.

The OBA therefore has a harder task to win the 19 seats needed for an absolute majority than the PLP.

The Gazette poll also showed Cox with only a 34 percent favourability rating, third behind opposition leader Craig Cannonier, who got 48 percent, and Michael Dunkley, his deputy, who had a 51 percent favourability rating among voters.

Monday's election features 87 candidates contesting 36 seats in the House of Assembly.

By Caribbean News Now contributor

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