Poll shows Préval with clear lead, but ineligible candidate Siméus could have presented a challenge

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

An opinion poll taken in Haiti from November 6 through 16th shows that former President René Préval leads the race of likely presidential candidates with 30% of those polled. However disqualified candidate Dumarsais Siméus received 34% of those polled, signalling that if Siméus were declared eligible it could be a tight race between those frontrunners. Siméus was declared ineligible in September due to his dual citizenship with Haiti and the United States. In December the Haitian Supreme Court ruled for a second time that Siméus is eligible under the Haitian constitution. However the electoral council said that due to the ballots already being printed, Siméus could not be added in this election cycle. It should be noted that the poll was taken by a political organization called The Democracy Group, a political consulting firm hired by the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians, a group for the restoration of democracy in Haiti to which Siméus is a member of. However a partner of the polling firm, Shawnta Watson Walcott, says that Siméus had nothing to do with the polling procedures and was not involved in any other way.

The poll also showed that among eligible candidates, Charles-Henry Baker received 7%, Marc Bazin received 5%, and Evans Paul received 5%. Also on the poll was the question of whether Siméus should appear on the ballot, to which 54% said that he should. When questioned with whom they trust most to lead the country, 31% said that Préval is that person. The polling is said to have a margin of error of 3.7% plus or minus with 703 Haitian voters questioned.

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