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August 2010 Snap Poll: should Goodluck run, confidence in INEC

Goodluck Jonathan and the 2011 Presidential Elections

Despite growing speculation about whether President Goodluck Jonathan will run for President in the upcoming 2011 presidential elections, the president is still yet to declare his intentions. However, various interest groups have sprung up pledging their support if Jonathan decides to run, while others insist that the zoning formula within his own ruling party should prevent him from running for President.

A recent survey conducted by NOI Polls shows that the majority (81%) of Nigerians believe that Jonathan should run for President.

The highest proportion of respondents who think that Jonathan should run for President was from the South-East (89%) and lowest proportion was from the North-West (62%)

Future Elections and the Emergence of Presidential Candidates in Nigeria

The results of this poll support the findings of a previous poll conducted by NOI Polls in April 2010 which found that Nigerians were largely unsupportive of the application of a Zoning Formula in selecting Presidential candidates. To the question ‘Do you think/agree that there should be a zoning formula for the emergence of Presidential candidates in Nigeria?’, more than 6 in 10 (63%) respondents answered ‘No’.

33% responded in the affirmative while 4% either didn’t know or refused to answer the question.

Competence is more important……..

Rather than zoning, Nigerians consider other factors to be more significant when choosing the country’s president. In response to the question ‘What do you consider to be the most important criteria that should be applied in choosing/selecting the Nigerian President?’, 38% of respondents answered ‘perceived competence’.

Also considered to be important by respondents is the level of education of the candidates (22%) and election manifesto/promises (20%). Ethnicity was considered the least significant factor (2% of respondents), while religion polled just 7% amongst the respondents.

Attahiru Jega, INEC and Nigerians’ Hopes for the 2011 Elections

On June 8th 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan nominated Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega as the new chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Jega’s nomination was generally lauded by both opposition and pro-establishment parties as he is largely regarded as a man of integrity capable of effective leadership of the INEC. Nonetheless, concerns still remain regarding the conduct of the upcoming 2011 elections and the implementation of reforms in the electoral process. In a recent survey conducted by NOI Polls, 80% of Nigerians said that they were aware of Attahiru Jega’s appointment as INEC chairman.

In addition, his appointment has boosted most respondents’ confidence in INEC’s capacity to conduct credible elections, with 73% responding ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Does the change in leadership make you more confident or less confident in INEC’s ability to conduct free and fair elections?’.

Voting Intentions

The survey also asked respondents whether they intended to vote in the 2011 elections. Just under 9 in 10 of those quizzed (87%) said ‘Yes’ with only 9% responding ‘No’ to the question.

Reasons for not voting

Of the 9% who said they no plans to vote in the 2011 elections, the majority (52%) said they were not interested in politics while 25% (1 in 4) said they believe that their votes will not count. The remaining 12% and 11% were concerned about the security during the elections and said they do not believe in the credibility of the candidates, respectively.

Survey Methods

Respondents for the snap polls were randomly selected from a database of phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 and above, compiled by NOI Polls. 1024 people took part in the telephone interviews from the 23rd and 25th of August, 2010. For a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.


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