New opinion polls conducted by three different bodies tip the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to win the December 7, presidential election in the first round.
According to the polls conducted by GN Research, 51 percent of Ghanaians are confident that the flag bearer of the NPP is the best candidate to address unemployment, health and educational issues in the country when voted as president.
According to the latest survey carried out in Accra with sample size of 3,000 respondents by GN Research – a Ghana-based research company – released to the media in Accra Tuesday evening, apart from Nana Addo, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) also received high approval ratings.
However, 59.2 percent expressed their dissatisfaction with the general performance of President John Dramani Mahama in tackling these issues.
Emmanuel Edah, a Senior Research Analyst of GN (Groupe Nduom) Research, revealed this at the official outdooring of its latest survey on the 2016 elections and the perception of the media and their role in successful polls.
It was released at the time the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU’s) latest report on Ghana’s election also predicted first round victory for the NPP and its presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The Political Science Department of the University of Ghana yesterday also released its opinion polls, giving Nana Akufo-Addo a ‘one-touch’ victory, if the NPP is able to mobilize its support base.
“The study therefore, concludes that NPP has a better chance of winning the December elections than NDC because NDC must win Greater Accra, Central and with Brong-Ahafo or Western Regions, which is possible but with minimal probability,” the survey posited.
According to the research, the NPP ratings have improved tremendously in all the swing regions that it will need total mobilization of its supporters in its strongholds to clinch ‘one-touch’ victory.
“If NPP is able to mobilize the core supporters to cast their votes the party has chance of winning in the first round; but if NDC and PPP are capable of making some gains nationally, this will force the elections into the second round, but NPP will still be in the lead in first round,” Dr Isaac Owusu-Mensah, lead researcher at the Political Science Department, penned.
However, President John Mahama is unperturbed, as he also claims victory in unknown polls results.
In Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, the president said yesterday that various independent scientific polls clearly showed he would win the election on December 7.
He, however, failed to mention which organizations conducted the polls, but said the polling results reflected the feedback from his campaign activities across the country.
The GN research was part of its efforts to strengthen the electoral systems and quality of election in 2016.
It was carried out from August to November.
Mr Edah continued that 63 percent of Ghanaians also expressed their dissatisfaction with the performance of the Members of Parliament (MPs) in their electoral areas.
He said the basis for the dissatisfaction showed clearly that the role of an MP is not understood by the electorate.
“Possibly the campaign messages of the MPs lead to confusion in the roles that they are supposed to play in their constituencies,” he noted, and opined that that calls for voter education on the roles of the appointed and elected people serving the nation.
“Security popped up as the most important issue for Ghanaians in the upcoming elections, taking a cue from the electoral malpractices in 2012,” Mr Edah said.
The senior research analyst noted that although security was prioritized, residents in the Greater Accra Region do not necessarily feel threatened in their local towns or villages.
Legitimacy Of Elections
Mr Edah said the report cited that only 47 percent of the respondents were satisfied with previous elections in Ghana.
The level of dissatisfaction is attributed to administrative inaccuracies, errors, wasted votes and to a lesser extent, fraud.
“Only 38% posit to have confidence with honesty in elections. Despite that perception, most Ghanaians (76%) plan to participate in the presidential election scheduled for December 7th,” he averred.
Mr Edah continued that the survey revealed that 72% have some attention or great attention for political issues.
Latest EIU Report
In its November report on Ghana, the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is widely respected for its forecasts, stated, “The Economist Intelligence Unit expects a transition of power from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) after the December 2016 elections.”
It, however, stated that there is the possibility of the election results being disputed, but confident that “Ghana’s democratic and judicial systems are strong enough to prevent any systemic threat to the country’s stability.”
It foresaw “tensions will therefore, ebb after the election period is concluded.”
According to the EIU, “January 2017 should see the next administration take power, but the likelihood of a second round of voting being required in the presidential election, coupled with the distinct possibility of disputed results amid tense political environment, could disrupt this transition,” the report noted.
The EIU warned that “Post-election acrimony could well lead to outbreaks of unrest between rival supporters of the two main parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party.”
Despite the notable risk of significant political instability and potentially even social unrest in 2017, the Economist Intelligence Unit did not expect any breakdown in Ghana’s overall stability, even assuming the election results are disputed.
It described Ghana as a country that has one of the strongest democracies on the African continent that is not historically prone to widespread violent upheavals and that “Although the judiciary has weakness (as shown by corruption scandal in 2015), it is generally regarded as competent in political matters which should ease the process, if the election result is contested legally (as it was in 2012).”
The Unit equally believed that “There is also a notable upside risk that one of the parties will win by a convincing enough margin that the result is accepted and the political scene normalizes quickly.”
The report also predicted that the next government and whichever party forms it would face a tight situation, with public employment cuts, slow wage growth and privatization – all likely to be on the agenda and all unpopular with the labour unions.
Nonetheless, EIU envisaged that although protests about economic conditions could disrupt business activity, it would not be of a scale to unsettle the overall stability, especially as prospects are generally favourable in more important employers such as agriculture.