The fate of the four front liners in Nigeria’s forthcoming presidential election lies in the hands of undecided voters and pollsters who refuse to reveal their preferred candidate, poll commissioned by the ANAP Foundation has revealed.
Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP), Bola Ahmed Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) are the four presidential candidates whose fate lies in the hands of undecided voters, says the poll carried out by NOIPolls.
In a statement signed by Atedo Peterside, the president and founder, of Anap Foundation, undecided voters and those who prefer not to reveal their preferred candidate add up to a whopping 23 percent and 30 percent respectively. The gender split of undecided voters shows that 27 percent of women are undecided versus 18 percent of male registered voters.
“At 38 percent, the South West figure is an outlier. Historically, an exceedingly high percentage of voters refusing to disclose their preferred candidate has usually been associated with perceptions/fears (real or imagined) of possible voter intimidation within a geographical area. For other zones, those who refused to disclose their preferred candidate ranged from 18-36 percent,” the report said.
“Other possibilities abound e.g. voters not wanting to reveal that they appear to be voting on the basis of ethnicity and/or religion, or voters not being comfortable disclosing on the phone that they wish to vote for a candidate other than the one from their own ethnic and/or religious grouping. We are also aware of the pressures that come from voters seeking to appear trendy and multiple other factors at play.
“Our conclusion is that, using our tried and tested method of sampling since 2011, the 2023 Presidential Elections are too close to call, notwithstanding the fact that, whoever was at the top of the polls based on this exact same methodology in 2011, 2015 and 2019 eventually won the elections. This time Mr. Peter Obi has been the front-runner throughout, but we caution that the Undecided/Refused vote is still too high (in early February 2023) to be ignored.
“We had thought that by delaying our 3rd and Final Poll until early February 2023 we would see a collapse of the Undecided Vote. The reality is that the reduction in the Undecided Vote has been more than offset by the increase in the number of voters who refuse to disclose the name of their preferred candidate.
“When we carried out our first and baseline poll in September 2022 we thought a long campaign period would lead to different candidates taking turns to lead the field. That has not been the case. This long drawn-out race has been surprisingly stagnant.”
NOIPolls Limited is an organisation that conducts country-specific polling services in West Africa. It carries out periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria.