In a race marked by wide gender, age and educational gaps, President John Dramani Mahama and Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo Addo are running neck and neck in the key presidential opinion polls, according to Goodman AMC Opinion Poll Report. The new poll taken from 4th July, 2016 to 13th July, 2016 shows Akufo-Addo with 49% and Mahama with 44% among likely Ghanaian voters in the race for President in the December 7 elections.
The race for President is in a stalemate, a change from last two months when Akufo-Addo led by 13 percentage points. 49% of likely Ghanaian voters now say they will back Akufo-Addo (a dip of 5 percentage points), while 44% will vote for Mahama (a bump up of 3 percentage points). In May 2016, Akufo-Addo led Mahama 54% to 41%, this was a stronger performance for Mahama than in the March poll, when he ended up far behind Akufo-Addo in the broader field. With less than five months from Election Day, the presidential race between Akufo-Addo and John Mahama, are too close to call.
Goodman AMC’s national opinion polling shows the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate's lead has narrowed in recent months, falling by 5 percentage points since last month. In other words, it sees the fundamentals of the race as showing a tossup, and reduces Akufo-Addo’s previous lead of about 13 percentage points to a projected Election Day win of about 5 percentage points as a result.
Included in the presidential tossup are the Progressive People’s Party’s (PPP) Papa Kwesi Ndoum who garners 6% of the vote, and Ivor Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) at 1%. Aside the surprising surge for Greenstreet, the remaining candidates are all trailing in distant zero decimal points.
When respondents were given an option to choose a third party candidate they would ever consider voting for aside Mahama or Akufo-Addo, Papa Kwesi Ndoum came out strongest and stood at 71% support followed by Ivor Greenstreet at 15%. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings followed with 9% and Edward Mahama at 5%. Though Ndoum happens to be the strongest third party candidate, he has been scoring very low for a third-party candidate in polls when his name is included alongside Mahama and Akufo-Addo. Ndoum has averaged 4% support in opinion polls conducted by Goodman AMC since March 2016 till now. His support has not been able to register in the double-digits according to data from Goodman AMC’s Opinion Polls.
Being the strongest third party candidate at the moment, a robust campaign from Papa Kwesi Ndoum is likely to take more support from Akufo-Addo than Mahama since most of his social intervention policies may overlap with those of Akuffo-Addo’s. This might make Ndoum a more interesting option for undecided supporters of Akufo-Addo. Ndoum’s share of the vote could play a decisive role in this year’s outcome.
Most likely voters say they have made up their minds about who to support; 82% of Mahama voters and 88% of Akufo-Addo voters say their choice is set. About one in ten of each candidate’s supporter say their minds might change before the election.
A gender gap is present. A wide majority of male voters, 59%, support Akufo-Addo while a plurality of women, 64%, is for Mahama. Differences also exist between likely voters with a college degree and those without a college education. A majority of likely voters without a college education, support Mahama. Among likely voters who are college graduates, 47% back Akufo-Addo to 43% for Mahama.
84% of Mahama’s supporters say they are very enthusiastic about their candidate while 71% of Akufo-Addo supporters also express this feeling. The high enthusiasm shown by Mahama backers could reflect in a high voter turnout of his supporters as compared to Akufo-Addo’s during Election Day.
Also, 93% of likely voters say they will definitely be voting on December 7, while 7% say they probably will. This therefore gives a clear forecast for a high overall voter turnout of electorates this year. Overall, 71% of likely voters have also shown optimism about this year’s general election.
On candidate qualities, Mahama beats Akufo-Addo with 59% as the candidate who is humble and has the right temperament to be president. More than six in ten voters, 71%, put greater trust in Mahama as the candidate who will tend to fight for the poor while 63% also choose Akufo-Addo as a well-positioned candidate to rein in the fight of corruption. The national electorate divides about whether Mahama or Akufo-Addo is more trusted when it comes to creation of good jobs.
Though the government might have emerged from several corruption scandals unscathed, 57% of likely voters think President Mahama has not taken forceful efforts to fight corruption in Ghana. While there is no definite link between Mahama's increase in the polls to this fact, he might lose ground to Akufo-Addo on questions which measure moral standards and honesty.
Goodman AMC Opinion Poll underscores the far-reaching challenges facing both Mahama and Akufo-Addo as Election Day approaches. 52% of likely voters believe the suspension of both Paul Awentemi Afoko and Kwabena Agyei Agyepong is likely to affect the NPP’s chances of winning power, while 62% say they are very bothered with Akufo-Addo’s silence on the derogatory comments passed by Kennedy Agyepong against the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei. Overall, 56% of likely voters also say they agreed on the point that Akufo-Addo had not done enough to unite the NPP.
Looking at Mahama’s challenges fully, 89% of those surveyed said the current power cuts is more likely to affect President Mahama’s chances of retaining power. “Mahama’s ability to suppress this power issue will play a key role (important factor) in deciding whether to vote for him or not,” said Isma-il Sulaiman, Managing Partner, Goodman AMC. In addition, more than half of likely voters (55%) also said they believe the current subsidies on electricity tariffs will not increase President Mahama’s chances of retaining power.
· 74% have a favourable view of Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, 26% have an unfavourable view.
· 83% have a favourable view of Mahamudu Bawumia, 17% have an unfavourable view.
· 62% have a favourable view of Paul Awentemi Afoko, 38% have an unfavourable view.
· 66% have a favourable view of Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, 34% have an unfavourable view.
· 46% have a favourable view of Kennedy Agyepong, 54% have an unfavourable view.
· 74% have a favourable view of Abdul Nasiru Isahaku, 26% have an unfavourable view.
“The driving force behind voters' choices is the positive impressions they have of both Amissah-Arthur and Bawumia. Akufo-Addo's single-digit lead may be due to his slight advantage in how voters perceive Bawumia who has a more positive favourability rating as compared to Amissah-Arthur.”
“Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyepong on the other hand are also enjoying high favourability ratings among likely Ghanaian voters, this translates that majority of Ghanaians are likely to have a positive impression or opinion of them,” Isma-il Sulaiman said.
43% of likely Ghanaian voters say they felt the impact of President Mahama’s just ended “Accounting to the People Tour”, the tour, which was tagged along with several TV campaigns was aimed at highlighting the President’s infrastructural achievements. A previous poll by Goodman AMC in March 2016 showed that 83% of respondents surveyed favoured the current government’s policy of investing more into infrastructural development. In spite of this, when likely voters were asked what they thought the NDC’s campaign lacked, 33% mentioned that they lacked a clear message.
Interestingly, 56% of likely Ghanaian voters also believe that the NPP’s campaign lacks the funds and resources; Akufo-Addo’s presidential campaign is therefore perceived by majority of Ghanaians to be running low on funds. The NPP’s weakness is also well known among likely voters, when asked to mention the major challenges facing the NPP, 41% of likely voters said the party was not united while 32% said the party lies along tribal lines. Notwithstanding this fact, 47% say they will be more likely to vote for Akufo-Addo if he is able to lay out a clearer plan for job creation.
When likely voters were also asked to mention the major challenges they thought was facing the NDC, 25% mentioned corruption and 43% mentioned the current power cuts as the major problems facing the party. 42% of likely voters also say they will be more likely to vote for Mahama if he is able to take more action in tackling corruption.
‘Money’ stands to also play a significant role in the December polls, revealing insights showed that, 24% of likely Ghanaian voters say ‘money’ could influence and make them more likely to vote for Mahama while 29% also said the same for Akufo-Addo.
Both Akufo-Addo and Mahama have different image problems; for Akufo-Addo, 24% of NDC supporters say they are likely to perceive him as too old for the presidency, 19% also have issues with Akufo-Addo’s human relations while 12% say they cannot trust him with uniting the country. For Mahama, 35% of NPP supporters are also likely to perceive him as a leader who cannot fight corruption in his government, 23% say he cannot transform the economy of Ghana, while 21% also say he cannot be trusted with solving Ghana’s power challenges.
“As the campaign progresses, both candidates have an opportunity to turn around the negative impressions or perceptions many voters have of them. Akufo-Addo still leads, but Mahama is closing the margin. The next two months will be crucial to determining which direction this trend goes,” Isma-il Sulaiman concluded.
With public opinion presidential pre-election polling being quite unused in Ghana, and the high tendency of Ghana’s hyper-personalized politics to attribute this poll to bias, we want to explain further what Goodman Poll’s presidential polling seeks to achieve and how it works:
1. Goodman Poll does not measure the outcome of Ghana’s December election. But instead, we measure (scientifically) who is ahead during election campaigning at a given point in time. Goodman Poll therefore does not answer the question "Who will win?" but the question "Who was ahead when we last looked?" To know who is ahead helps both politicians in office and out of office in their planning. This poll is therefore not meant to undermine any political party, but to help provide a solid read to candidates and also enable political parties to not be trapped in a vacuum, in which they are absent-minded of what the public feels.
2. Much will happen between today and 7th December, 2016 which could affect subsequent results in this presidential polling. Most political parties in Ghana are yet to begin active and rigorous campaigning which may give momentum to, or suck oxygen from a given candidate. A candidate may also drop or increase depending on their favourability ratings among floating voters, or some candidates may throw their support behind another candidate. This together with other foreseen and unforeseen instances might render the Goodman Poll very unpredictable.