Home Local News Political analyst not convinced Michael’s independent run will bear fruit

Political analyst not convinced Michael’s independent run will bear fruit

by Pointe Xpress
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With general elections looming, the chances of the incumbent Asot Michael being able to return as the MP for St. Peter, or at least inflicting some damage to the leading candidate the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party’s (ABLP) Rawdon Turner, has been a hot topic.

While some think either outcome is possible, political analyst Peter Wickham is unconvinced.

Wickham’s reservations stem from the results of the latest Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) poll which was commissioned by the ABLP.

Wickham explained while Michael was popular in past elections, his controversial divorce from the ABLP could impact whether electors embrace him now or place their support elsewhere.

“The challenge is now will that stand now that he is outside the ABLP.

“Our polling suggests that he has not reached the bar of 20 percent, and I said in the press release that what we find is that with the independent candidate, if they can reach 20 percent penetration in terms of a public opinion poll then, that person is in with a fighting chance.

“I see no evidence in the poll that he has reached that far. He has fallen well short of it, which essentially means that he is not even likely to be a spoiler because 205 (votes) is certainly the level you would want to be as a spoiling candidate in that instance.

“The theory now for us is that he will not impact significantly, that he has not taken a sufficient chunk of the ABLP support to become a key player,” Wickham said.

Wickham did note that Michael is doing well when compared with the performance of past independent candidates in Antigua and Barbuda.

“He is not getting one or two percent. He seems to be doing certainly better than the DNA in some instances, so I think that is good for him, however, it means he may very well save his deposit because I don’t know that he is likely to be a main contender based on the poll data that I have received,” the Barbadian political scientist added.

The most recent poll results were made available, in part, last week.

Prior to this, CADRES conducted another poll in April.

Participants were asked a series of questions in specific constituencies to gauge the temperature of the electorate.

Wickham maintains that despite the poll’s findings, the political dynamics in the country can change at any moment.

In July, Michael hinted that he would seek reelection as in independent candidate after the ABLP confirmed Turner as the candidate to replace Michael.

For months, Michael and the ABLP had been locked in a legal battle after a dispute arose over the party’s determination that he was an “unsuitable” candidate and would not be returned as its candidate in St. Peter.

The three-member Suitability Committee voted 2-1 against Michael.

The former Tourism Minister and his legal team still maintain that based on the court’s last ruling on the matter, the ABLP had no authority to confirm Turner as the candidate.

To support his point, Michael has argued that no ABLP spokesperson has explicitly stated that Turner is the confirmed candidate, and he has challenged the ABLP to do so.

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