from Africa in Transition

Nigeria Election Polling

March 9, 2011

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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Elections and Voting

Nigeria

Polls and Public Opinion

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=215110937314986… width=570 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

The line represents the general division of northern and southern Nigeria.

According to a recent opinion poll in Nigeria, 38.1 percent of  respondents "strongly agree" and 34.9 percent "somewhat agree," "that Goodluck Jonathan is doing a good job as president." The poll even shows Jonathan with a 100 percent positive approval rate in Akwa Ibom state, and an average positive performance rating of about 90 percent in the southern states. His lowest score was in Kano with 22.5 percent, but he had an overall approval rate in the North of 60 percent.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos, an international polling firm, was published in This Day, a Nigerian newspaper sympathetic to the Jonathan administration.

I am skeptical that this poll accurately measures Jonathan’s support. Indeed, an approval rating of 100 percent anywhere stretches credulity. While opinion polls are not unknown in Nigeria, they are not common, either.

Shortly before the 2007 elections, a government cabinet minister came to see me with polling results that ostensibly showed overwhelming support for the governing People’s Democratic Party. In hindsight, the Obasanjo government’s sharing of poll results with the diplomatic community looks like it was part of an orchestrated campaign to try and give credibility to the electoral outcomes despite the massive PDP rigging of the elections. Friends of Nigeria must hope that polling data is not now being used in a similar way before the April 2011 elections.

More on:

Elections and Voting

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