Confidential research carried out by a shadowy think tank linked to the opposition National Democratic Congress shows that the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is Ghanaian voters’ clear choice, outgunning John Dramani Mahama of the NDC as the candidate to win the 7 December presidential election.
A draft report from the latest poll/survey, carried out by the Center for Policy Research, has been leaked exclusively to Asaase Radio.
We can reveal that the NDC’s own research shows that, whereas respondents who identify with the NPP are overwhelmingly loyal to Akufo-Addo and will back him to win the presidency (93.5%, against 3.2% who said they will support Mahama), 91% of NDC-inclined voters would choose Mahama – but another 4.8% from inside the NDC camp would vote for Akufo-Addo.
Tilting towards Akufo-Addo
The researchers used party identification as the basis for their work. This allowed them to pinpoint gaps between voter demand and perception of the parties.
The aim was to highlight not only which segments of the voter population “are available for grabs” but also which kinds of messages can sway voters in the short term.
The survey shows NPP-inclined respondents giving the party’s presidential candidate a hefty endorsement. Over 86% backed Candidate Akufo-Addo in 2016 (against 82.5% of NDC supporters who voted for Mahama) and a further 6.3% of NDC backers chose Akufo-Addo over their own party candidate.
This year, 85.4% of NPP supporters say they will definitely vote, against 82.2% of NDC followers for Mahama.
The same modest tilt in Akufo-Addo’s favour marks the data about voters’ attitude to candidates. Where just under 88% of respondents think that John Mahama cares more about ordinary Ghanaians, over 90% think the same thing of President Akufo-Addo.
Vision of development
More own-party supporters think that Akufo-Addo has shown commitment to Ghana’s development, introduced policies that have helped put money in their pockets, and shown seriousness in the fight against corruption (81.6%, against 78.9% of NDC supporters for Mahama).
Importantly, the pro-NPP respondents also believe that their party will fight hard to tackle poverty: 85.4% of NPP voters, 26.6% of independents and 14.6% of those who support other parties say the NPP will “have a true and meaningful fight against poverty”. By contrast, 81.1% of NDC followers, 21.7% of independents and 11% of those who support other parties have confidence in the NDC to do the same.
Overwhelming majorities of NPP supporters told the researchers that Nana Akufo-Addo has the capacity to solve problems of youth unemployment, has a bigger vision of national development and will be the best person to choose in the 2020 election because of his performance in government.
Similarly, the pro-NPP respondents have greater confidence in their party’s ability to raise revenue for national development (87.1% to the NDC’s 83.9%). Even more noticeably, they believe that the NPP will do more to support small businesses (88.2% of pro-NPP supporters, against 85.4% for the NDC), will manage the economy more competently (89.2% against NDC’s 86.6%) and will ensure reliable power supply (90.6%, against the NDC’s 78.8%).
Although the detailed findings show voters giving preference to the governing party over the NDC in their perception of how well the parties have performed in delivering on most voter demands, the researchers present their summary results in the most optimistic light possible.
The summary conclusion says: “The data shows that the December 2020 elections is presently a neck-to-neck race (Nana Addo 40.3%, John Mahama 40.1%; 14% undecided; and 3% for other parties [sic]).” This does not seem to be borne out by the detailed findings seen by Asaase Radio.
The researchers identify five regions where the NDC must do most work to swing the election in its favour: Bono East, Central, Greater Accra, Savannah and Upper West. There must also be a special focus on the Volta Region to ensure a significant turnout.
The study summary suggests that targeting first-time voters and co-operating with smaller parties could give the NDC a decisive edge.
NPP supporters eye the prize
The research shows that an overwhelming majority of NPP voters believe that the economy will become much better in the next two years (75.1%). Among NDC supporters, however, the corresponding figure is just 33.2%.
A large proportion of voters for independents (35) and other parties (48.8%) remain undecided whom they will vote for in the presidential election, the researchers found.
The authors of the report – Michael Kpessa-Whyte of the Institute of African Studies and Mumuni Abu of the Regional Institute for Population Studies, both of the University of Ghana – are well-known political commentators. Both men are members of the short-lived Concerned University Lecturers of Ghana, a thinly veiled pro-NDC pressure group. Kpessa-Whyte is a former presidential staffer and advisor on policy. He stood for the NDC parliamentary nomination for Shai-Osudoku in 2016.
The survey was supervised by Kafui Tsekpo, a social policy specialist studying for a Ph.D. at the University of South Africa. Tsekpo is also a fellow of the African Leadership Centre. He carried out a post-mortem of the 2016 general election and has worked as a research assistant at the Institute of African Studies in Legon, which is led by Professor Dzodzi Tsikata.
The self-styled “Center for Policy Research” (CPR for short, ironically) is similarly named to, but not the same organisation as the reputable Centre for Social Policy Studies at the University of Ghana.
The CPR survey was carried out between September and October this year. A total of 10,448 respondents across all 16 regions of Ghana were interviewed face to face for the study. The researchers received financial support from the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation.
VIEW THE LEAKED REPORT