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Countdown to 2015 Elections: Candidacy Viability Poll

Abuja, Nigeria. October 21st, 2014The latest Countdown to the 2015 Elections Poll conducted by NOIPolls looked at the viability of potential candidates for the Presidency in the 2015 elections. Candidate viability is based on two key factors:

a) Familiarity: This measures how well known the potential candidate is to the general public.

b) Net Favourability Position: This measures the overall public perception/opinion of the candidate and must be positive.

The candidate viability of each potential candidate was measured by cross analysing their familiarity with their net public perception (Positive opinions minus Negative opinions). Key top line results revealed the following three potential candidates are considered to be the most viable:

  1. President Jonathan has the best overall familiarity rating at 99% and net positive favourability at +25,

  2. Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos comes in second with a familiarity of 94% and net favourability of +8. He also comes tops among other potential APC candidates and

  3. Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State comes in third with a familiarity rating of 88% and net favourability of 0.

The results also indicated that an effective Public Relations plan is needed to push borderline candidates to positive net favourability positions to enhance their candidate viability. These potential candidates are former military Head of State; Retired Major General Muhammed Buhari, survey results show that though he is well known (96%) he suffers a setback with a slightly negative favourability rating (-2). Others are Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo with slightly negative favourability of (-5) in spite of his high familiarity (92%)and, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State (-7) with a familiarity of 85%.

These represent some of the key results for the fifth poll in the ‘Countdown to 2015 Elections’ by NOIPolls Limited.

Brief Background

In the build-up to the 2015 elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as its sole consensus candidate for the Presidency though the President has not formally declared his intent at present[1]. In addition, several notable APC candidates such as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Retired Major General Muhammed Buhari have declared their intent to run for Presidency while there are on-going moves within the party to broker a compromise[2] in the build up towards the party’s primaries scheduled for December 2nd, 2014. As political parties conduct primaries to select their candidates for the various levels of government for the 2015 elections, it is important to select viable candidates that have the best potential to subsequently win.

The viability of a candidate during an election is mostly based on two (2) factors;

1) Voters must be familiar with the candidate and;

2) Have an overall positive impression of the candidate.

Candidates might become better known during their campaigns but those who are better known prior to campaigns clearly do not have to work as hard as candidates who are not well known. Conversely, some candidates may be well known but not well liked by the public; they might find it harder to improve their image during a campaign compared to those that are not well known.

NOIPolls conducted its latest Countdown to the 2015 Elections Poll with a focus on potential candidates in the 2015 Presidential Elections; the candidate viability of each potential candidate was measured by cross analysing their familiarity among members of the general public with their net positive perception. TheCountdown to the 2015 Elections Polls are conducted bi-Monthly by NOIPolls and the current result release is 5th in the 2014 series.

Results on Candidate Viability

For this survey, Seventeen (17) candidates were used and belong to the various political parties. The figure below shows the viability of the 17 candidates in a 4 X 4 matrix that shows the net favourability i.e. the net of positive and negative opinions about them versus their familiarity. The four quadrants are interpreted as follows:

1. The top right quadrant: Candidates that fall in this quadrant have a positive net favourability which implies they are well liked. In addition, they are also high in terms of familiarity and therefore well known. These are the most viable candidates for the election

2. The top left quadrant: Candidates in this quadrant have a positive net favourability but are not well known. They are only known by a few people but those few have very high opinions of them.

3. The bottom left quadrant: Candidates that fall in this quadrant are not well known and have a negativenet favourability implying a negative public perception. Their key challenge is to improve their visibility and public opinion so they can be considered viable candidates

4. The bottom right quadrant: Candidates that fall here are high in terms of familiarity indicating they are well known. However, they also have a negative net favourability showing the public has a net negative opinion about them. For these candidates, the key is to work on their public perception through a strong and effective reputation management team.


[1] Jonathan thanks PDP for adopting him Presidential candidate – Premium Times, September 21st 2014

[2] APC moves to broker compromise on Presidential Primary – This Day Newspaper, 7th October 2014

President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP currently has the best candidate viability among all potential candidates for the 2015 Presidential Elections because of his high familiarity score (99%) and high net favourability (+25). Furthermore, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State currently has the best candidate viability among potential APC candidates for the 2015 Presidential elections due to his high familiarity score(94%) and positive net favorability (+8). The only other candidate that falls in the right upper quadrant with the two aforementioned is Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and similarly of the APC with a familiarity score of 88% and net favourability of 0.

Another potential APC flag bearer is former military Head of State; Retired Major General Muhammed Buhari. Survey results show that though he is well known (96%) he has a slightly negative favourability rating (-2). Other APC members with slightly negative favourability in spite of their high familiarity include Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo State (-5) and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State (-7). Their slightly negative rating simply implies that a slightly larger proportion of Nigerians have a negative impression about these candidates compared to those that have a positive impression. To become viable candidates, the key is to address this by improving their public image before the elections and address potentially negative notions about their candidacy that might be influencing Nigerians’ perception about them. Strategic planning and a well-orchestrated public relations campaign should be sufficient to move these candidates into net positive favourability among Nigerians.

Potential candidates that have the lowest favourability rating while being highly popular are Vice President Namadi Sambo of the PDP with a net favourability rating of -34 and former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the APC with a net rating of -30. This very negative rating for the current Vice President Sambo needs to improve to compliment the President’s net positive favourability rating. Results also indicate that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is as popular as President Goodluck Jonathan (98% familiarity versus 99% familiarity)however suffers a setback of a net negative favourability of -30 as a result of a poor public perception.

The candidate with the least familiarity score is Sam Nda-Isaiah of the APC (51%). However, it’s interesting to note that though the proportion of those that have a positive opinion of him is the lowest (8%) among all these potential candidates Sam Nda-Isaiah also has the lowest proportion of people that have a negative opinion about him (31%) therefore he does not have the lowest net favorability score overall.

In addition, some of the candidates at the bottom of the table have previously contested for the Presidency under different parties. These candidates such as Dele Momodu, Patrick Utomi and Chris Okotie have a high percentage of people that do not have an opinion of them i.e. they neither had a positive or negative opinion about them even though they were familiar with them.

The net favorability and familiarity scores of the potential candidates are shown in the table below:


The net favourability of potential candidates is determined by the public’s positive and negative opinions about that candidate; therefore a positive rating shows a larger proportion have a positive opinion than those with a negative opinion. Among all potential candidates only 2 candidates had positive net favourability scores; President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP (+25) and Governor Babatunde Fashola of the APC (+8). In addition, Governor Rochas Okorocha also of the APC had a net score of 0 indicating an equal proportion had positive and negative views about him. The other candidates had negative net favourability scores and need to improve their public image and expel negative notions about their candidacy.

A summary of the top three viable candidates disaggregated by geo-political zones is given as follows:

To obtain the full report with charts and tables for all 17 candidates further disaggregated by geo-political zones, please click here.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted from 13th to 14th October 2014. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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