Labour Party’s Peter Obi is still projected to win Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, according to a new poll commissioned by ANAP Foundation.
The nationwide poll shows a significant lead taken by Mr Obi with Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) respectively trailing him.
Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) emerged as a distant fourth behind Messrs Tinubu and Abubakar.
Conducted in early December, the results showed 23 per cent of voters willing to vote for Mr Obi if the presidential election were to be conducted today; and 13 per cent proposing to vote for Mr Tinubu who fell in second place.
Mr Abubakar came third with 10 per cent and Mr Kwankwaso was a distant fourth with only 2 per cent of voters proposing to vote for him.
“Mr Peter Obi’s 10 per cent point lead at this stage is significant, but not sufficient to separate him from a leading pack of candidates scoring 13 per cent, 10 per cent and 2 per cent,” said 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 29 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. The gender split of undecided voters shows that 38 per cent of women are undecided versus 21 per cent of male voters.”
The percentage of registered voters or voters with their permanent voter’s card as of December is 90 per cent in the North East; 89 per cent in the South West and 88 per cent in the South-South. The lowest voter registration percentages were recorded in the North Central with 87 per cent; North West with 86; and the South East with 84 per cent, the report said.
“The percentage of voters refusing to disclose the name of their preferred candidate has increased sharply from 15 per cent to 23 per cent making it difficult for us to ascertain if any of the candidates has picked up significant momentum between September and December 2023,” Mr Peterside said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES.
The foundation had commissioned a poll in September that tipped Mr Obi to win the election with Mr Tinubu and Mr Abubakar finishing second and third position respectively.
When asked if religion would affect the choice of respondents, data gathered showed that 15 per cent of the respondents replied in the affirmative to religion influencing their choice of candidates but 81 per cent, on the other hand, responded that their choices were not being influenced by religion, the report added.
On ethnicity, 10 per cent of the respondents noted that ethnicity informed their choice of candidates while 86 per cent said their choices were not influenced by ethnicity.
The top five reasons why voters are more inclined to vote in the forthcoming election are the need to tackle insecurity (35 per cent), Economy (26 per cent), Unemployment (10 per cent), Poverty alleviation (7 per cent), and Education (6 per cent).
Overall, 71 per cent of the respondents believed the presidential candidates should compulsorily participate in a televised debate and/or town hall meeting, with the debates/town hall meetings spanning across topics like their manifestos, competence checks, and personality recognition amongst others.
The percentage of respondents willing to vote in the upcoming election varies by age bracket. For instance, 73 per cent of persons between the age of 18 – 25 intended to vote in February while 82 per cent of registered voters aged 26-35 said they are going to vote.
About 85 per cent of voters aged 36-45 are ready to vote and 86 per cent of registered voters aged 46-60 are also going to vote. About 82 per cent of registered voters aged 61+ responded that they would vote in the upcoming elections.
The age groups that expressed the greatest willingness to vote were those between 36-45 and 46-60 years.
On average, the poll shows that 8 in 10 registered voters are certain that they would be voting in the next presidential election.
“If they stay committed then we could witness a huge turnout in the February Presidential 2023 elections,” Mr Peterside said.
“While this Poll result shows some significant trends, it is key to note that the battle ahead lies in the hands of the undecided/swing voters as they would ultimately decide which candidate takes the lead to emerge as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2023 presidential elections.”
The researchers said the survey was polled “from 1,000 respondents; after which Anap Foundation conducted similar polls with a 2,000 and 3,000 respondents sample size, the difference in the results was not significant.”
The high percentage of voters (38 per cent) who refused to disclose their preferred candidate in the South West Zone is worrisome. For other zones, those who refused to disclose their preferred candidate ranged from 14-23% per cent,” the group said.
“Historically, an exceedingly high percentage of voters refusing to disclose their preferred candidate is usually associated with perceptions/fears (real or imagined) of possible voter intimidation within a geographical area.”
Anap foundation added: “Our December 2022 Polls are inconclusive in terms of establishing a clear winner as the undecided voters, combined with the voters who refused to disclose their preferences, are enough to turn the tables.”
“However, Anap Foundation has concluded that the trends are clear enough to establish the front-runners and so our subsequent polls will continue to concentrate on the 4 leading candidates only.”
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