One MLA takes the cruise port question to his constituents, conducting his own unscientific poll to determine the will of George Town Central voters on the divisive issue.
George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan’s poll asks voters if they are for the port plan, against the port plan, or simply undecided.
Mr. Bryan says he’s received close to 400 responses to his ad-hoc poll, representing about 30% of his constituency.
He said he plans to use the responses to inform his position on the project.
“392 have responded, and I actually think that’s a pretty large amount out of 1,250,” said Mr. Bryan.
The first term MLA is taking a data driven approach to representing his constituency.
By phone and by text, Mr. Bryan and his staffers are polling George Town voters to determine their level of support for the cruise and cargo port project.
“My job is not only about my views but my people that I represent’s views, this will give me a guidance as to what stance to take,” said Mr. Bryan.
He said of his poll’s 392 respondents, roughly 20% are for the project, roughly 40% are against the project, another roughly 40% are undecided.
Mr. Bryan told Cayman 27 he’d like to see responses from about half his constituents before taking a position.
“This is one of those issues that I believe the public really wants to have a say in, hence my approach here, but I wouldn’t do this for every issue, but this port project definitely hits the threshold to take this type of approach and that’s why I’ve done it,” said Mr. Bryan.
But how much does sample size matter in polling?
Cayman 27 put that question to US based polling analyst Jim Williams of Public Policy Polling.
“We normally like to see around 500 people in a sample, in a typical poll that would be done in a lot of political polls in America,” said Mr. Willams via telephone from Chapel Hill, NC. “Sometimes there are circumstances when you are polling a smaller geographic area, you might get something like 400 completes, and that’s OK too.”
On this issue, which Mr. Bryan said directly impacts his constituency more than any other, he said the polling approach works for him.
“I can’t see no other way to deal with it, because I would hate to take the position that is different from what the majority of my people want,” said Mr. Bryan.
Thursday (31 January,) Cayman 27 conducted an unscientific poll of its own to determine if Cayman’s 18 other elected members use polling and if so, to what extent.
Cayman 27 heard back from 12, good for a 66% response rate. Of these respondents, 11 said they had dabbled in various degrees of polling, mostly during election time.
Here are excerpts from the responses of 12 individual MLAs (in the order responses were received):
- Savannah MLA Anthony Eden: “Not as an individual but in association with others.”
- Planning Minister and George Town North MLA Joey Hew: “Only during elections.”
- Opposition Leader and North Side MLA Ezzard Miller: “Never done any polling, rely on individual contacts with my constituents.”
- Bodden Town West MLA Chris Saunders: “Absolutely, how do you think I got elected?”
- Environment Minister and Bodden Town East MLA Dwayne Seymour: “Nothing after the election but sampling before the elections.”
- George Town West MLA David Wight: “I have never done a poll personally or by a professional but sometimes they are quite interesting.”
- George Town South MLA Barbara Connolly: “Not subsequent to being elected.”
- West Bay Central MLA Captain Eugene Ebanks: “I’ve had polls done during election time.”
- West Bay North MLA Bernie Bush: “Never through a professional group but with people who I know are partial to no one.”
- Newlands MLA Alva Suckoo: “I have used Facebook to conduct small polls in the past but nothing significant.”
- House Speaker and West Bay West MLA McKeeva Bush: “I’ve always listened to the issue and then I lead on what I feel is best for the vast majority.”
- Finance Minister and George Town East MLA Roy McTaggart: “To answer your question, yes I have through polling agency.”