Peter Wickham's Polling - Political Rambling

R- PM Spencer, Peter Wickham and Senator Joanne Massiah

The unpredictable nature of man, “...behaviorally and expressively,” holds true.” Accepting the teachings of the Holy Scripture, it may seem ironic that a “...rib taken from man was miraculously made into woman.”

Then the Scripture warns, “...Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble [Job 14: 1]. However, unlike Job who had endured “...affliction and suffering,” it has been ordained that in “...Man’s Earthly Life,” where he may never see God, he may not only make trouble, but shall himself see trouble. Given recent polls released by regional Political Scientist/pollster Peter Wickham, indicating a spiral downward trend in support for his administration, and seemingly adverse to his Cabinet colleagues, Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Baldwin Spencer and Senator Joanne Massiah, may have been given “...Dreams to Remember” [Otis Redding].


The recently released scientific poll had provoked mixed reactions to the results. Though pollsters had not necessarily conducted their research on the “...premise that candidates may succeed in an electoral contest,” many hopefuls appeared to have ignored certain fundamentals. Most appeared to have overlooked the “...currency of the situation and factors residing within the political environment- socially and economically; ...conduct of public officials;...conduct of public affairs; ...impact on the citizenry and their quality of life. Undoubtedly, data obtained by pollsters may have guided their expertise in making “...Reasonable Assumptions,” and ultimately, arriving at “Logical Scientific Conclusions.”


Scientifically, from trends developing within the “...socio-economic and political environment,” though not necessarily considered “...Scientific Prophets,” frequently, employing their scientific knowledge, they had correctly predicted “...Political Deaths.” Correctly predicting “...wins and defeats” in two previous elections, Peter Wickham may have positioned himself as a “...Prophet of Bloom and Doom.” Invariably, such “...Prophets” were themselves “...Doomed.” Whether they were appreciated or despised for their “ ...dramatic parliamentary presentations or public sensationalism,” had Education Minister Honourable Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro and Senator Joanne Massiah been made Kings, not likened to King Edward II, then most certainly, the bodies of Parliamentarian Honourable Molwyn Joseph and Political Scientist/Pollster Peter Wickham may have been left headless.


Political Scientists and/or Pollsters do not necessarily “...speak to, or for the people.” They primarily speak to those “...Administrating Public Affairs” and/or those who had engaged their services, to tell them what was happening within the “...Political Environment.” Contrastingly, within national borders, the James ‘Tanny’ Roses have taken on the role as “...Voice of the people;” ...the Percival ‘Percy’ Simons have taken on the position as “...Roving Reporter.” In their respective roles, speaking directly or indirectly to those where “...Leadership Matters,” they have sought to ventilate issues, even the plight of disadvantaged people, perceived as “...negatively impacting on the quality of life.” Likened to the “...political scientists; ... analysts and pollsters,” they too, are subjected to rebuff, ridicule and insults.


The expression “...Voice of the People” was universally known. When such “...VOICE” was heard, it was said to have been the “...Voice of God.” When it was sounded, evil-doers had shuddered, others remained stoic. Invariably, individuals and/or entities had voluntarily taken on the responsibility of “...speaking on behalf of the people.” This has been a well-established practice and an irrefutable fact.  In some environments, however, situations were different. Whether it was seen as an act of “...Bravery or Stupidity,” when Archbishop of Canterbury Walter Reynolds reportedly brought charges against King Edward II in a Sermon, it was said that he represented the “...Voice of the People” [Latin “...Vox Populi: 1327].” Back then, such sermon may have been deemed “...Treason.”


Given the consequences that existed then, ‘Wikipedia,’ may have failed to reveal what may have happened to the Archbishop’s head. In the Republic of China, this may have been “...Incarceration or Execution.” In a democracy, it may have been accepted as “...Freedom of Speech.” Unlike Bishop Reynolds,the Media have taken on a sword-like role, “...Cutting and thriving.” Several media houses have embarked upon “...Strategic” communication savagery- viciously swiping and “...Cutting,” yet “...Thriving” commercially on services” smarting under the guise of promoting the people’s interests, yet “ ...advancing the aspirational goals of individuals.” In attempting to influence public opinion, individuals may use the print, electronic and social media. Then hypocritically, the media announcements had been given suspicious endings “...This was a paid political announcement.” However, since nothing is FREE, affiliated or not; ... political bartering or not, “...sensationalism, dramatization, or even rhetoric, there was a price to pay.


Those known to have conducted “...Electoral Polls” and/or had advanced analytical scientific views, were the “...Arvel Grants; ...Peter Wickham’s; ...Victor Richardson’s and to a lesser extent, Dr. Isaac Newton.” They have all spoken to particular issues, yet articulating from “...scientific and/or analytic perspectives; ...professional knowledge and/or personal experiences interacting with people in a hostile political environment.” Thus, in a constantly changing political environment, neither “...political scientists, analysts nor Pollsters” may escape the verbal wrath of those vying for re-election and/or opponents seeking to thwart their aspirational efforts.  This has been the case when “...scientific polls and/or analytical reviews” suggested waning support for candidates in areas of representation.


They have all spoken scientifically and authoritatively to several “...Contentious Issues,” which in no small measure, seemed to have affected, or have the potential for affecting the electoral processes. These were identified as “...re-registration of voters; ...disenfranchisement and boundary changes.” Aggrieved parties had, rightly or wrongly, described the latter as “...gerrymandering.” Then there were the inevitable-institution of “...Litigious proceedings” by the aggrieved, for “...interpretations and determinations by the Judiciary.” Frequently, however, there have been misunderstandings among the citizenry over the “...role and function of the Judiciary.” These issues, however, were to be pursued through systems with established procedures and processes upon which “...rationality, reasonability and justification” were to be determined and delivered by Judges through the concept called “...JUSTICE.”


Even though the Judiciary is regarded as the “...Vanguard to democracy; ...liberty; ...freedom and good governance,” litigants, and by extension the citizenry were sometimes forced into “...expressing dissent over judgments” seen as running contrary to their expectations.”The Judiciary was often seen by many litigants as “...clueless to that which was obtained in a hostile political environment.” Similarly, comprehension appeared to have been made difficult in relating to the functions of the two other arms of government, the “...Legislature and Executive.” These governmental arms appeared to have provoked contentions, comparable to the devastating drought conditions now affecting the “...Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).” If it were not so, there may have been no need for “...Judicial Reviews” on “...No Confidence Motion [St. Kitts] and “...Re-registration of voters; ...Constituency Boundaries changes” [Antigua and Barbuda]. Nonetheless, in its legalistic duties, the Judiciary shall take supreme reign over the “...Executive and Legislative conduct,” interpreting and discerning the parliament intent and/or possible motive of policy-makers. Though ultimately, these may provide topics for discussions and analyses, these were not functions of “...political scientists, analysts or pollsters.”


Individuals practicing these scientific disciplines are, undoubtedly, highly intelligent, perceptive and analytically “...savoir-faire.” They are well-learned in anticipating trends and invariably correctly predicting occurrences within the political environment. However, for the avoidance of “...susceptibility and/or inducement of a false sense belief,” the pollsters had constantly advanced postulation, that their scientific research were primarily based upon the “...currency of the situation and/or political environment.” For this reason“...incumbents and aspirants” are mortally afraid of their “...Scientific pronouncements.”


In their respective approaches to the sciences of “...Polling and analyzing” the Political Scientists and Pollsters, shall make assessment of the political climate. Hence, they must rely heavily upon the collective “...Voice of the People.” Invariably, their approaches may have been influenced by many factors operating in the environment. These were obtainable through “...information from the print, electronic and social media; ...scientific poll results and irrespective of eligibility to vote, through actual contact with people,” Sharing their expertise, however genuine, has often become problematic. Yet in earnest, they have provided the electorate and the citizenry good reasons to look closely at “...those holding public office; ...those with immediate and/or future aspirations and most importantly, the political environment.”   


Those conducting “...political polls” shall know that those results showed were losing favor with the electorate, had all ways found reasons for attacking “... methodologies -scientific or otherwise used in obtaining data; ...conclusions and more so, the “...pollster and his integrity.” It must be constantly vivid in the mind of political scientist Peter Wickham, when a fellow-pollster responded to a question posed by host of a radio programme. Though the question appeared pregnant with absurdity, was ill-advisedly posed at the time he was explaining results of the poll conducted by his agency. However, it seemed not to have disturbed his mental state of calmness and composure. For instance, when he had released polls that revealed results running counter to that which may have been contrary to “...pre-conceived expectations,” an incensed Education Minister Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro had not concealed her feelings. She had flatly rejected the results. Notwithstanding, if there was evidence of “...Professional Honesty,” it may have been seen by the advice proffered by “...pollster Peter Wickham.”


When the contentious electoral processeswill have been over and thepolls will have been conducted; ...votes counted and winners  declared,” political pundits have all posited that the existing political climate was suggestive of reactions to results, capable of producing “...Shock and Awe” [Bernard Shaw: Gulf War 2003]. In recent times, the electorate and by extension, the citizenry had primarily focused their attention on many issues and/or national developments. These include “...state of the economy; ...national debt; ...employment; ...opportunities; ...disposable income; ...financial security; ...water, light and power; ...health services; ...improved quality of life; ...emerging political trends; ...protracted electoral processes; ...campaign strategies and scientific polls results.”


These have been some of the fundamental issues“...political scientists, pollsters and analysts” have all considered in the respective forums of deliberations. The citizens had engaged themselves in“... open market, business place; ...street-side; ...pulpits; ...community and/or town halls and the media discussions.” While “...Political Scientists” provided analytical perspectives on the situation, the unfortunate “...Pollsters” had to contend with rebuffs to their scientific findings. Therefore, pollsters were often placed closer to “...Hell than Heaven.” Individually and/or collectively, the voices of parliamentarians, and moreover, those of political scientists, analysts and pollsters,” were known to have precipitated ripples across the political divide and/or landscape, while anxieties and uncertainties had engulfed the mind of the nation.


Without contradiction, the existing political climate, not only reflects some degree of uncertainty, but also hostilities between “...political entities and operatives; ...incumbents and opponents; ...constituents and electorate; ...scientists and pollsters.”  It may have been seen that Polls that were seen as adverse to the aspirational goals of an entity, those affected have often placed pollsters closer to “...Hell than Heaven.” Frequently, incumbents and/or aspirants were not only seen as forcing themselves into denial, but had chosen to declare “...Unholy War” on the pollsters and analysts for poll results adverse to their political aspirations. The case of Barbados political scientist and director of the “...Caribbean Development Research Center Services (CADRES) Peter Wickham,” irrefutably makes the point. Though for very different reasons, current turmoil in many nations across the globe makes this evident. For political Scientist/pollster, Peter Wickham, it may have been “...Hell on Earth.”


Thus, if “...Earthly Life” was to be transformed into a “Living Hell,” then logic dictates that “...Peace and Goodwill” among men, may only endure shortened durational periods of tranquility and normalcy. These, therefore, shall prevail only in an environment that was to be seen as “...conducive to their sustainability and strengthened by “...human civilization; ...sensitivity; ....tolerance and respect, not only for the views of others, but also for the “...Dignity and worth of the human person” [Constitution 1981: Principle A]. To all intents and purposes, the lot had always descended upon those practicing “...Scientific Disciplines.” Invariably, their “...scientific research; ...poll results and voices” have provoked consternation and consequential human wrath. However, likened to the “...Technicians who “...Take the dead under,” political scientists, analysts and pollsters, also have important roles to play. ...They predict “...political deaths.”


Dependent upon the political organization that may have been seen as impacting the “...Mind of the Nation,” this was known to have incensed feelings in those vying for elective office. Similarly, when political scientists had advanced varying analytic views on issues affecting the “...electorate and/or candidates,” such views were frequently seen as “...bias or illogical.” There was no doubt that likened to Senator Joanne Massiah, Prime Minister Dr. Baldwin Spencer believed that “...God always has other plans.” It was such thinking, when God was truly acknowledged, that he had guided civil expressions, informed decisions and rational courses of action. Though seemingly resolute in her position, the Honourable Senator Joanne Massiah, may have ignored the Scriptures that states “...Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not CHARITY, I am become of sounding brass and tinkling cymbal” [1 Corinthians 13: 1]. Unfortunately, with indirect reference to all political scientists/pollsters, she had described them as “...Soothsayers” [Jamaica Gleaner: February 3, 2014].


There was little doubt that Senator Joanne Massiah had followed the Scriptural teachings that states “...The heart of the wise teacheth the mouth and addeth learning to the lips” [Proverbs 10:23]. When pollster/political scientist and director of the Barbados-based agency Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES),  disseminated information on recently conducted “...Electoral Poll,” that suggested the  likelihood of defeat for incumbents in the 2014 general elections, Peter Wickham’s scientifically rationalized findings and conclusions, may have placed him in the awkward position for what may have been seen as “...instantly stirred-up wrath.” Even after two previous crushing electoral defeats [March 23, 2004 & March 12, 2009], ironically, Peter Wickham had correctly forecast her electoral demise. Resolute and optimistic, a resilient and determined Senator Joanne Massiah had not only rejectedthe results, but had also treated the pollster with scant regard to his scientific knowledge, professionalism and expertise.


Senator Joanne Massiah had no intention being choked into silence, neither by Peter Wickham, nor the poll results.Dismissively, yet “...philosophically and spiritualistically,” speaking to supporters on the “...Poll,” she was quoted as saying “...The only person who knows who will win the next general election in Antigua and Barbuda is Almighty God” [Gleaner: February 3, 2014]. That which many aspirants and/or incumbents may have overlooked was this “...God, was not interested in polls, but in “...Saving the Souls of the wretched Sinners.” Contrastingly, while others frowned over the political scientist/pollster’s findings, Culture Minister Eleston ‘Namba’ Adams whom the poll showed was “ ...trailing behind rival Senator Paul ‘Chet’ Greene,” appeared to have accepted the results, and has vowed to work assiduously to change the situation [Caribarena: March 27, 2014].


It may also have been evident that Senator Massiah may not have listened to the gospel song “...Search me O God; ...And know my heart today; ...Try me O Savior; ...Know my thoughts I pray; ...See if there be some WICKED way in me; ...Cleanse me from every sin; ...And set me FREE” [Joseph Niles]. Contrastingly, when the Honourable Prime Minister sought “...Divine Intervention” on behalf of the people of Antigua and Barbuda, whether or not it may have been seen as unorthodox, or even irreverent, he had, nonetheless, pleaded earnestly, “...Lord up there; ...You cannot, and will not put the people of Antigua and Barbuda through this again; ...You will not” [Public Forum]. Such interventions may either have “...proved the pollster right in his scientific predictions and/or wrong with his assumptions.


Clearly not harboring intentions in “...amassing wealth under false pretence,” it may have been evident to prospective clients when pollster Peter Wickham professionally warned clients and/or potential aspirants of possible “...Downsizing effects of Frequent Polls” [Observer Media” March 24, 2014]. This may have been considered as a result of factors residing within the political environment, and capable of influencing dynamism. For instance, “...spike in crime or fluctuating and/or suppression of utility services, “could provoke discontent and see administrative support drastically dwindle. Embarrassingly, as the scientific data was being presented and explained, the unthinkable occurred. The programme host, seemingly driven by exuberance or some other influences, surprisingly asked “...Do you believe that polls can be biased?  Somewhat puzzled over possible “...imputations,” Peter Wickham, composed, and with professional candor, respectfully rebuffed both host and fellow-pollster Lindley Winter for either posing or responding to the mindboggling question.” Though not ridiculed through the same medium, there was a continuum through other media. What shall be understood, the political scientists, pollsters and analysts do not determine that which occurs in the minds of voters and/or polling cubicles, when exercising their individual franchise.

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4 Comments In This Article   


@Daniel Jones » 2014-04-16 01:56

#4 Observer... » 2014-04-19 21:19

Oh yes they read. look at the hits. But perhaps they do not understand what they read. Remember it's not gosip so many won't weigh in. But as always as Tenman said Mr. Pompey keep educating us. I for one appreciate it.


RE: Peter Wickham's Polling - Political Rambling

#3 tenman » 2014-04-16 06:54

Was this portion added after: "What shall be understood, the political scientists, pollsters and analysts do not determine that which occurs in the minds of voters and/or polling cubicles, when exercising their individual franchise."? When I read it yesterday, the article ended without that portion. As the writer stated, the pollsters job is to proverbially check the temperature. I do wish though that Wickham would stick to his job (report his findings and stop with the suppositions). Mr. Pompey as usual keep educating.



RE: Peter Wickham's Polling - Political Rambling

#2 Daniel Jones » 2014-04-16 01:56

Great article, too bad no one reads it because of the style.

Daniel Jones

RE: Peter Wickham's Polling - Political Rambling

#1 Phillip Kennedy » 2014-04-15 05:58

All well and good. But polls do not last for more than 7 days in terms of their currency or lifespan. They also can't determine voter turnout. They can capture sentiments at any given moment in time based on the data collected and the way that data are analyzed. All polls are reasonably bias. They have a specific background and selective questioning hook. But even attempts at being objective is a bias against bias. Relativity is a real as is it universal. The ALP is in the ascendency but the UPP can win or lose lol!

Phillip Kennedy

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