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Bernier holds slight lead in last-minute poll

By on November 3, 2016

SAN JUAN – With only five days left for the general elections, the gubernatorial candidate for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), David Bernier, would result the winner over New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate Ricardo Rosselló, according to a survey conducted by Héctor Pérez, a non-professional pollster who since 1996 has estimated, with amazing accuracy, which party would win in the past five elections.

Pérez estimated that if the election were held today, Bernier would win the governorship with 40.84 percent of the vote, while Rosselló would receive 38.54 percent.

“This is a very unusual election. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty in the electorate, so this isn’t decided yet,” Pérez said, acknowledging that Bernier’s 2.3 percent advantage falls within the survey’s error margin.

However, this scenario is similar to the 2012 elections, when Pérez estimated that Alejandro García Padilla would prevail against Luis Fortuño by less than a 1 percent advantage.

“This isn’t decided. The final outcome will depend on the political parties’ ability to mobilize their constituents effectively,” Pérez said.

According to Pérez’s survey, the overall results for the registered parties in Tuesday’s election are: PDP, 40.84%; NPP, 38.54%; Puerto Rican Independence Party, 3.21%; and People’s Working Party, 1.39%. Meanwhile, independent gubernatorial candidate Manuel Cidre would receive 6.79% of the vote versus Alexandra Lúgaro with 5.99%.

In the survey, whose sampling ended as recently as Wednesday night, Pérez estimated that 3.24 percent of voters are still undecided about who they will vote for Tuesday.

Pérez’s survey methodology, which has been widely questioned by professional pollsters and political parties alike, is based on a sampling of the municipality of San Sebastián, which since 1996 has mirrored the island’s electoral behavior. This makes San Sebastián an electoral “barometer.” Only a few of the island’s municipalities are considered electoral barometers.


PDP gubernatorial candidate David Bernier

“Whoever wins in San Sebastián, wins on the island by nearly the same margin as in the municipality,” said Pérez, with whom the electoral history of the past 20 years in Puerto Rico seems to agree.

Pérez explained that his survey begins with a proportional sample of each electoral unit in San Sebastián. He then conducts face-to-face interviews with each of the people of the sample. Thereafter comes the process of tabulating and calculating the data obtained until arriving at his projections.

On the reason the electoral behavior of San Sebastián mimics Puerto Rico’s or vice versa, Pérez didn’t offer a possible explanation and merely said it is primarily an agricultural town where factories had “left when Section 936 [of the Internal Revenue Code] was eliminated.”

Pérez, a medical services coordinator who is currently unemployed, produces and moderates a weekly sports program on Radio Progreso (WRSS 1410), a local station in San Sebastián.

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