Polled registered voters and their thoughts on the current administration, the country's present challenges, and the respective political parties that are best suited to address them.
“The collective wisdom of the public can often be a powerful force in influencing decision-making, but it's not infallible. It can overreact, or make mistakes. However, when good governance and sound economic management are in place, eventually the public will recognize and respond positively. In the end, it is important to remember that collective wisdom is not always wrong for long.” In Thomas L. Friedman’s widely acclaimed book ‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree’, he talks about the electronic herd which has nothing to do with Nigeria, however, it is laden with conventional wisdom about good governance. This article briefly discusses governance from the perspective of the recently polled registered voters from our recently concluded 2023 Nigeria presidential election poll and forecast exercise.
The majority of the surveyed registered voters revealed that the performance of the current administration has been abysmal. Our poll survey found that 33.4% of respondents thought the performance of the current government was "poor," 43.8% thought it was "very bad," and 13.7% thought it was "fair." Only 6.5% of respondents thought the government was performing "well," and only 2.6% thought it was performing "very good." Inferences can be drawn from the primary data generated from this poll exercise that this predominantly negative perception of the current administration by registered voters could be one of the driving influences behind the surge of fervency and a widespread embrace of an alternative of the two traditional frontline parties, the APC and the PDP.
When we proceeded to ask them about the greatest challenges that Nigeria was facing, insecurity, poverty, corruption, and unemployment were the frequent mentions. From the primary data generated from the poll exercise, there appears to be a consensus among the polled electorate that the greatest challenge facing the country is insecurity.
A deeper understanding of the Nigerian electorate's perspective of the front-runner candidate pairings put forth to the ballot by their respective political parties was sought in part through the design of the poll's questionnaire and sample size weighting. Because of this, the poll data noted the growing and widespread acceptance of the recently revived Labour party. One explanation for this is the widespread dissatisfaction with the political status quo that has been observed in our sample size. Anecdotally, our enumerators in Kano highlighted some strong pro-NNPP positions as well - further corroborating the qualitative data-backed assertion of a strong discontent for two major ‘establishment’ political parties.
Therefore, we can establish that from the electorate in our study population, there is a strong perception of the other two of the four frontline political parties who happen to be non-establishment political parties.
Respondents were also asked about the political party they thought was best equipped to solve Nigeria's insecurity issues. Results generated showed that the Labour Party was the most popular choice, with 53.2% of the total responses. Other parties chosen were the PDP (18.5%), APC (14.8%), NNPP (10.4%), ANPP (0.2%), AAC (0.1%), ADP (0.1%), and SDP (0.1%). 2% of respondents were undecided, while a small portion (0.6%), surprisingly did not think any of the presidential candidates could solve the problem. The Labour Party also emerged as the top pick when it came to solving poverty, with 52.4% of the respondents choosing the party. The PDP came in second with 18.3%, followed by the APC and NNPP with 15.9% and 10.8%, respectively.
With regard to solving corruption and unemployment, the Labour Party proved to be the most popular choice for respondents yet again. This indicates that the Labour Party is the most favored choice of a party that is best equipped to address Nigeria’s current problems among polled registered voters for the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
There are no easily doable panaceas to Nigeria’s myriad of problems, at least not what a cohort of polled registered voters may be looking for. But there can be pathways to solving some of these problems. A recent article from our stead itemizes an approach the next government could deploy to at least deliver sound macroeconomic management that can solve Nigeria’s multi-generational poverty problem.
Like Thomas L. Friedman's quote in the introductory paragraph, the crux of vote intention is almost always buoyed by discontent for what is generally considered ‘bad governance’, and a deep yearning for what is widely considered good governance within the context of political competition. Since we have collected a good number of subjective opinions from a study group that replicates the entire registered voter population in Nigeria about the current state of Nigeria, and their thoughts on the political parties that can ameliorate the state of the country, we can say that this upcoming 2023 presidential election could significantly be about good governance.