Straw poll shows surprise support for parties

| 13/02/2017 | 19 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS Elections): The latest straw poll in the CNS Election Section has thrown up a surprising result, given the perceptions about political parties. While the online vote among our readers is unscientific, the snapshot does at least raise questions about Marl Road predictions that the electorate will, this time around, focus their one vote on independent candidates. The results from the poll indicate that voters still appear to favour parties or formal alliances.

The online poll found that over half would vote for a party or an alliance candidate, with just over 30% of voters saying that they preferred an entirely independent candidate. By Monday morning, almost 19% of participants in the poll said that the affiliation or independence of a candidate would not influence their vote.

Cayman began formalising the idea of party politics following the 2001 coup, when the government led by Kurt Tibbetts following the 2000 election collapsed and McKeeva Bush took over the reins of power. After that political turmoil, two parties formed, but the political positions of those parties has been hard to define, with some philosophical but little policy differences between them.

But the main argument in favour of parties, groups or alliances running together with a specific leader is that voters can see before an election who would likely be premier and serve in the Cabinet, rather that the horse-trading that was common following elections before 2005.

Cayman’s political landscape was traditionally one of backroom deals, which meant that campaign trail promises were largely empty because no one could ever be sure that if they were elected and found themselves cutting a deal to be part of the government, that their new Cabinet colleagues would support their policy positions.

On the other hand, voters have also raised concerns that the last three elections have just been a pointless swap around of political parties, with MLAs all blindly following the party leader. Some believe that what the country needs is a collection of independent thinkers to follow the will of the people, not necessarily the premier.

But the problem with that opinion is that Cayman’s democracy follows the adversarial Westminster system, which also embeds the collective responsibility of Cabinet to allow a government to stand together. And while the voters may feel they want something different, the end result will still be a government that speaks as one voice, with backbenchers that can vote against the front bench but are very unlikely to do so if they want to remain in government, and an opposition.

Knowing ahead of polling day who will be working with whom does have advantages and gives voters slightly more certainty in the result if they vote for a party or allied candidate. This may explain why, although voters may feel that they want some new and independent thinkers, they are also concerned about the horse-trading and manipulation, which could see the successful candidates support entirely different policies to those they campaigned on once they are in office. In comparison, it’s easier for voters to hold the party candidates with full manifestoes to account.

In the last election electors did vote for five independent candidates — but watched as three of them joined the government.

In some constituencies voters had no choice; in both East End and North Side there were no PPM or UDP members on the ticket, and in other multi-member constituencies electors clearly mixed their votes. Collectively, the independents and C4C candidates still only amassed 30.5% of the vote.

But that statistic on its own is hard to pick apart as the multi-voting at the time makes it difficult to see how much of the independent vote was a solid choice or merely part of a mixed approach. This time around, voters have only one vote and the candidates are in a head-to-head race. Whether that will favour the independents, as much of the talk in the public space is suggesting, remains to be seen.

Category: Election Viewpoint, Polls

Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS Why write a follow up article based on this online poll? It adds nothing to the conversation.
    Your online polls are open to EVERYONE on the internet and as such are No reflection of the opinions of the Caymanian Electorate.
    The main reason people gave for not wanting to see either party form the government this year is that they did not want to see either McKeeva or Alden as the next Premier.

    As seen recently from the polls carried out on the new dock, these polls are easily manipulated by whatever persons chose to do so and are heavily subscribed by people from other jurisdictions who know nothing but the two party system.
    Your headline could just as easily have been ” Parties get more people to double vote in CNS poll”

    I don’t know who voted on this CNS poll but it is my job to feel out the pulse of the Caymanian voter and I can assure you that more than 60% of Caymanians voters I speak to are fed up with the party system and will vote for independent candidates, or at least people not connected to PPM or UDP come election time.

    You will be about as right as the US mainstream media was in predicting that Hillary Clinton would now be President.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, they did not say it was scientific.
      If scientific means that they visit every district and poll diverse people in diverse jobs, then they will not have the resources and hence the inclination to make it “scientific”.
      We all know that CNN were so left leaning, they were blinded by the truth.
      May this never happen in Cayman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s hard to get people from the same party to agree enough to accomplish anything. If there is a LA full independents then the very little useful that is now happening will mostly like move to zero.

  3. huh? says:

    Yea but the people who really matter didnt participate! They are not on CNS sorry wrong demographic!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I heard the Premier pontificating that if we vote for Independents we wont get anything done. Well we voted for the parties and did not get anything done. He took motions from his own party members in cabinet and fell through. Independent thinkers can align themselves and get a lot done. Don’t let the Premier try to fool anyone. He should be worried about his own election bid.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots got done under Progressives. Minimum Wage, Airport, Roadworks, changes to planning refs to allow mixed use in GT, reduced fuel tax, improved recycling, new waste mngement RFP to be signed soon to fix landfill, these re bring shredded, cruise pier and cargo port work being redone, John Gray school work restarted, medical marijuana law, myriad of laws that benefit Caymanians and Cayman, ready 2 work programme putting Caymanians into jobs, Caymanians unemployment cut from 10.5% in 2012 to 5.6% in 2016., raised retirement age, Sourh Sound park, Smiths Barcadere, renegotiated Dart NRA deal to improve conditions and remove hotel tax sharing, UK relationship fixed, Government finances sorted, revenues fixed and expenses reduced, surpluses increased, no new taxes but taxes reduced, civil service salaries corrected, CAL planes being upgraded, tourism numbers increased etc etc etc.

      Plenty been done. Don’t know what Cayman you living in.

      • well..... says:

        I live in the real world where we have a Govt that tried to ram gay marriage down our throats, where fuel prices are still not properly regulated, where I can’t afford to buy groceries, where, crime is rampant, where young people with degrees can’t get jobs, where Caymanians are discriminated against, where only rich developers get a break, where the Government remains locked away behind closed doors and will not engage me or even encourage me to participate, where we are building a cruise ship berth to benefit the family of a politician, where nothing has been done for Bpdden Town, where the social services budget has increased year after year, where education is under resourced and failing our kids, where there is no trade school, where work permits have increased, where kids are being chased by a Police helicopter instead of being educated, where kids go to school hungry, where school like Clifton Hunter still don’t have paper, where the Govt bent over backwards to please the UK and embraced the FFR which stopped them from helping their people, where beach access has been taken from the people, where kids are being sexually abused at a rate of 100 per year or more!

        Should I continue ?

        • Anonymous says:

          “Where we have a government that tried to ram gay marriage down our throats”. Totally absurdly false so you are obviously one of those Trump type not so smarts that believe in “alternative facts”… other words complete lies and bullshit.

          • Anonymous says:

            The poster was right. Nothing of consequence was done unless you hold your bolt passport from the UK, USA or Canada.
            When the dust settles, us real Caymanians will still be here.

        • José L. Williams says:

          Yes keep going.. i agree

      • José L. Williams says:

        So why you guys raised that retirement plan, why I can get all my benefit one time? ..why and why?.. why you guys did not remove ozzy and erase him from ppm as he made a mistake as usual and blame a person as driftwood? Why ?. Why the premier claimed that those independent running this term aren’t good to run this 4×4 islands?..

  5. Anonymous says:

    Should be no surprise. Dont listen to the few malcontents on the talk shows.

  6. Sharkey says:

    The poles in the USA this past Presidential election had Hillary winning too, but look who won . I am sorry to say but we should not go by poles, but more by what the people are saying and thinking about the Candidate. The News Media’s wanted Hillary Clinton to win too , but didn’t happen.

    • Politricks says:

      Polls… its polls man. No we should not go by poles, they are what strippers dance on.

      Secondly, CNS. You should know better than to publish an article based on junk science. An online poll has no statistical merit. It is open to respondent bias, ie certain demographics are more likely than others to respond. And, more importantly, they can not be vetted for multiple entries.

      So what we have here is a BS article best summed up by the 2nd sentence, which then negates the entirety of what follows. ie:

      While the online vote among our readers is unscientific,

      I could then follow this disclaimer with anything! See my point?

      • Anonymouse says:

        Online Polls are more accurate than any other means of polling. With online polls,the participants volunteer information. Just look at the recent US Elections. The polls by the various traditional agencies, targeted people by phone and they were all wrong. The polling done by Trump’s data team were the results of people volunteering information.

        • Anonymous says:

          No. Just no.

          Any poll has a margin of error in part based on how closely its sub-sample of respondents reflects the population as a whole. “People volunteering information” does not reflect the population as a whole very closely.

          President Trump’s internal polling (his ‘data team’ including the Republican National Committee) did not just rely on ‘people volunteering information’. They’re not idiots. But even they knew that the election was within the margin of error of the polls. Its why the day before the election Trump conceded there was a chance he would not win.

          Poll-takers have known for years that a telephone poll misses some people (and that that margin of error is increasing). But its still exponentially more accurate than relying on ‘people volunteering information’. What we can all do – especially perhaps reporters and partisans – is respect the margin of error when looking at poll data. That tells as much as the pretty graphs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, the US polls were spot on. Within their margin of error. Mrs Clinton won the ‘popular’ vote but, lost in some ‘too close to call’ constituencies. The difference between a poll and a vote is the margin of error. Which is why we have votes and don’t just do polls.

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