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Feb 20, 2012

Oceana’s Poll says Bring the Referendum

A week ago, the government announced that it will not be holding a referendum on oil exploration. Still, one of the driving forces of the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage has commissioned a poll to measure people’s perception on oil exploration and drilling in offshore and protected areas of the country. Oceana Belize along with pollster, Yasmin Andrews conducted the survey.  They took two random sample of four thousand participants—one sample taken from the coalition signature database and the other a random countrywide sample. Various methods and software were used to ensure that target populations for each district were adequately selected and calls were made to land lines and cellular phones over a six days period.  The seven questions measured perceptions on oil exploration and drilling in offshore areas.

Yasmin Andrews

Yasmin Andrews

“Do you think there should be oil exploration and drilling in offshore areas? The response is there; eighty-seven point two percent said No. That leaves you only twelve percent said yes. So that means in this entire country of Belize is saying that if the sample of four thousand is representative of three hundred and odd, we are saying that the majority of Belizeans do not want oil exploration to occur. Eighty-seven point zero is a very high number. Would you vote for there to be oil exploration and drilling in off-shore areas? This is actually if you got to the referendum, the answers of the participants, the majority, eighty point four percent said No. that means if there was a referendum and they went to vote this is how the tendency would be—the majority eighty percent would say No. Next, would you like the opportunity to vote on whether oil exploration and drilling off-shore area would occur? This is would you like to have an opportunity for a referendum? Again, the majority; Yes, which is ninety-four percent. Only six percent said no. that means that the majority of the populace of this country wants a referendum, they want an opportunity to be able to vote. Next question: do you think the opportunity to vote on oil exploration and drilling in off-shore areas should have been called off by the government—this is the recent decision. So we are asking now the four thousand participants of the entire country—representative of the three-fifty because they were randomly selected—and the response was no. So sixty-two percent, more than half of the population said the government should not have called off the referendum. Only thirty-eight percent said yes. Next question: would you demand that you’d be given the opportunity to vote on whether oil exploration and drilling in offshore areas should occur? Ok now this is after the fact. Again the majority said yes, which is ninety point eight. So just nine point two said they wouldn’t bother. Our three thousand six hundred and thirty-three individuals, our participants. Next question: do you think the Coalition which collected twenty thousand signatures asking for a vote on offshore oil should fight action from government for calling off the voting on this issue. Look at the response again. You are asking fi the coalition should continue “fighting” and the response from the participants again was ninety point eight percent said yes. Then the last question here was what do you think should be the next step for the coalition. Again you are asking the participants after the fact, what is the next step. And we gave them the options: A, people demonstration; B, take it to court; C, start the process over; and D, call people to action. And the majority said call people to action—get people active or motivated to pursue action after the fact that it was called off. And that was thirty point three percent. One thousand two hundred and ten said call they should call the people to action. The second highest was start the process over which was twenty-five point nine. Third, twenty—four point zero; take to court and then people demonstration.”

The analysis was conducted employing Statistical Package for Social Scientist (SPSS) and the pollsters claim it was conducted within a confidence interval of ninety five percent with a margin of error of plus or minus five percent.  One of the questions asked why people thought the government call off the referendum. Forty eight percent responded that it was because the government didn’t want it and twenty eight percent said it was because of personal reasons.

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