Jonathan leads in ThisDay polls

by Thisday Polls

The latest poll conducted by THISDAY/Ipsos ahead of the 2011 general election indicates that President Goodluck Jonathan may secure 60.3 per cent of popular votes in the presidential election. However, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may lose the governorship polls in five states.

In the poll conducted in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between February 25 and March 16, 2011, 60.3 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Jonathan in the presidential election, while his closest rival, Major General Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) scored 22.4 per cent.

Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, the flag bearer of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), scored 5.9 per cent, while the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, scored 4.7 per cent. Shekarau was generally acclaimed to have won the presidential debate last week but this poll had been conducted before then.

Buhari has a clear lead among polled samples in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Bauchi and further holds narrow leads in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno and Gombe.

Jonathan leads in all Southern states with the exception of Ekiti, where Ribadu has a 54-per-cent score, and Osun, which is considered too close to call, even though Jonathan leads. Ribadu and Shekarau had a strong showing in the state, thereby making it difficult to call for Jonathan.

A noticeable trend is the likelihood that PDP may win governorship in a state and lose presidential in the same state – or vice versa.

In Lagos, for instance, over 80 per cent of the polled voters said they would vote for Jonathan (PDP presidential), while 92 per cent said they would vote for Babatunde Fashola (ACN) in the governorship election.

It is even more common in some Northern states where PDP could win governorship and lose presidential in Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara.

Also, PDP is in danger of losing the governorship elections in four of the states it currently controls – Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue and Imo.

In Bauchi, the CPC candidate, Yusuf Maitama Tugar, was rated the highest by respondents. He scored 55 per cent, leaving the incumbent Malam Isa Yuguda of the PDP with 34 per cent; the ANPP flag bearer Nazeef Gamawa with 6 per cent; and ACN candidate Baba Tela with 4 per cent.

In the president’s home state of Bayelsa, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and former presidential adviser on amnesty, Mr. Timi Alaibe, led with 56 per cent among the polled potential voters, while the incumbent Chief Timipre Sylva scored 44 per cent. Alaibe is of the Labour Party (LP), while Sylva is flying the flag of PDP.

A similar scenario is playing out in Benue State where the PDP governor, Hon. Gabriel Suswam, is trailing the ACN candidate, Professor Steve Ugbah. Suswam has 19 per cent, while his rival has 72 per cent.

Imo is also endangered for the ruling party as Governor Ikedi Ohakim trails Chief Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The state is considered too close to call because even though Okorocha polled 34 per cent in the survey, 41 per cent of the voters are still undecided. Ohakim has 14 per cent, while ACN’s Ifeanyi Araraume has 12 per cent.

In Kebbi, the PDP ranks third, meaning Governor Saidu Dakingari could lose his position to either ACN’s Kabir Turaki, who scored 44 per cent, or CPC’s Abubakar Shettima who scored 41 per cent. The state is still too close to call.

The battle ground states for governorship, according to the survey, are Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Borno, Oyo and Delta.

But the PDP remains competitive in Zamfara, where Governor Aliyu Shinkafi leads the pack by 43 per cent, closely pursued by ANPP’s Abdulazeez Yari with 37 per cent.

The PDP is also competitive in Oyo and Kaduna, where it holds narrow margins. In Borno, the poll favours the ruling party. It is too close to call in Delta but the ruling party is very competitive there.

The 62 per cent figure for the PDP in Ogun State is recorded in favour of Tunji Olurin, although it remains to be seen if this would change because both Olurin and Gboyega Isiaka were laying claim to the party’s ticket for a prolonged period.

Ipsos is one of the leading pollster companies in the world with more than 30 years of experience researching political attitudes.

It has the most long-term and comprehensive set of polling data of all polling agencies in the world.

Speaking to THISDAY yesterday on the latest polling results, the CEO for Sub-Saharan Africa, David Somers, said: “We initially designed a very large sample to cover the entire country. It’s a sample of 11,000 approximately of what we did in every state that will allow us to have estimate per state and in general. We conducted face to face interviews and as we talk to people in local dialects and personally on the ground, we asked people a series of questions about how they feel about life and about things in general and about things they want from their politicians. And ultimately for whom they will vote for whether at the presidential level or at the gubernatorial level. It’s honestly a traditional poll which we do all over the world.

“So the way we arrived at figures was to go to all the states, interview the people within those states and then aggregate all the data from the states up to a national level. We rate data accordingly so that each state will be represented correctly within the total national figure by the census and also by the voter registration. So we used as a waiting measure plus some other factors which we discovered while we went into this and that is how we got the national figures.”

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