A new nationwide opinion poll conducted early this month at the instance of ANAP Foundation reveals a solid overall lead by Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), with Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) both trailing him.
Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) emerged as the lone outsider in fourth place, according to the results of the poll conducted by NOI which has in the past accurately predicted the outcome of several elections in Nigeria.
Of the registered voters polled, 23% said they propose to vote for Peter Obi, the businessman and former governor of Anambra state if the presidential election were to be conducted today.
Another 13% of the respondents propose to vote for Bola Ahmed Tinubu who fell in second place. Abubakar Atiku placed third with 10% and Rabiu Kwankwaso was a distant fourth with only 2% of voters proposing to vote for him.
Political analysts told our reporter soon after the results of the poll were announced that it would seem that the top four candidates have virtually maintained their positions from a similar poll done three months ago by the same NOI Polls.
Another feature that appears to remain constant is the high percentage of registered voters who are undecided or unwilling to disclose their voting preference. This number of is the highest for the South West, a trend that could portend trouble for the ruling party candidate.
However, the analysts point out that Peter Obi’s 10%-point lead at this stage while being significant, is not sufficient to separate him from a leading pack of candidates scoring 13%, 10% and 2%.
According to the poll, undecided voters and those who prefer not to reveal their preferred candidate add up to a whopping 29% and 23% respectively. The gender split of undecided voters shows that 38% of women are undecided versus 21% of male voters.
The percentage of registered voters and/or voters with their permanent voter’s card is as follows in each of the zones – 90% in the North East, 89% in the South West and 88% in the South South. The lowest voter registration percentages were recorded in the North Central with 87%, North West with 86% and the South East with 84%.
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A statement by ANAP foundation said the percentage of voters refusing to disclose their preferred candidate increased sharply from 15% to 23% making it difficult to ascertain if any of the candidates has picked up significant momentum between September and December 2023.
According to ANAP, “when asked if religion would affect the choice of respondents, data gathered showed that 15% of the respondents replied in the affirmative to religion influencing their choice of candidates but 81% on the other hand, responded that their choices were not being influenced by religion; in the same vein, 10% responded in the affirmative to ethnicity affecting their choice of candidates while 86% responded that their choices were not influenced by ethnicity.”
Detail analysis of the poll data reveal the top five reasons why voters are more inclined to vote in the forthcoming elections to include the need to tackle insecurity (35%), the poor state of the economy (26%), rising unemployment (10%), pervasive poverty (7%) and desire for improved education (6%).