On the 13th March 2010 the blog Headlined "Opinion Polls-Smoke and Mirrors" predicted and explained that the GSD would not win the next election and that the poll commissioned by the GSD party rag 7 Days (and so suspected to have a bias) was not analysing its own poll properly. Today the Chronic has published its poll. Its headline is rightly "Election Shock as GSLP/Libs Romp Ahead". It predicts 39% support for the GSLP and only 27% support for the GSD. What is interesting is a brief analysis of the poll, as compared with the results of the last election, and one answer to the specific questions posed in the poll.
Immediately what is noticeable is that the support for the GSLP/Libs is unwavering in size. It is as approximately the same support as it achieved in the last election, from memory a drop of only about 4%. In marked contrast, the loss of support for the GSD since the last election is massive. The GSD were elected with (again from memory) 51% support. It has lost a massive 24% of its support. The conclusion must be that this massive drop has gone to the "don't knows", which is indicative of a mass exodus from the GSD in the direction of the GSLP/Libs. In short it is more likely that a majority of the "don't knows" will shift to the GSLP/Libs than to the GSD.
The GSD would need 23 out of the 27% "don't know" to get them back to the level of support that they had at the last election. A very unlikely shift. The GSLP/Libs would only need 11 of the 27% to reach 50%, which would give them an assured win, although, taking into account the votes to the PDP, 50% is not needed to obtain a government majority in Parliament. As the Chronic points out, if the "don't knows" are taken out of the equation, on the basis that only about 70% of the electorate actually votes, then the GSLP/Libs have 54% and the GSD only 37%.
Do the answers to the other questions in the poll support the conclusion explained? An analysis of the "don't knows" does. 34.7% of these believe that the GSD Government is "not in touch with the electorate". 34.7% of 27% is approximately 9.5%, which added to the GSLP/Libs' 39% gives them an overall 48.5%. This support is enough to form government if the PDP's support is taken into account. Even if the entire balance of 17.5% is added to the GSD's 27% (which is an unlikely eventuality) they only reach a total of 44.5%, which is not enough for them to form government.
The unknown factors are a change in leadership in the GSLP/Libs, the return to the GSD of Peter Montegriffo or the arrival of a very strong alternative party to contest the next election. Taking the last first, this is such a remote and difficult possibility that it can and should be discarded. Peter Montegrifo could make a big difference to the GSD's chances of election, so if he does come back the results and polls could change.
The likelihood is that Joe Bossano will retire as leader of the GSLP/Libs. The likely successor is Fabian Picardo. Two important factors come into play if the GSLP/Libs are to retain their lead in the polls. First and most importantly, Mr Bossano's personal following has to stay with the GSLP/Libs if it is to win. To achieve this Mr Bossano has to stay in the line up for the GSLP, despite not being the leader, so Fabian Picardo will be Chief Minister in place of Joe Bossano with him remaining in Parliament for at least one more term.
The second factor is that Mr Picardo has to change the public's perception of him personally. He must convince the electorate of his political honesty and trustworthiness and also that he has leadership qualities. He can achieve this by carefully putting together a caring, clear and novel manifesto and having the ability to sell it to the electorate. There is a lot that can be included in such a manifesto let us see if he does it. The open door beckons the GSLP/Libs to form the next government of Gibraltar. Gibraltar should not fear it by looking back to the last GSLP administration. The GSLP/Libs have moved on massively since then. The GSD are slowly reverting to what we do not want in a democracy: the autocracy of one man.