Using Opinion Polling to Enhance Electoral Credibility in Nigeria

Mention Nigeria and the first thing that comes to mind to many people is corruption. Nigeria, like many African countries, has endemic problems with corruption and nowhere is this more acute than in the political sphere.

Nigeria’s democratic process has been marred by a history of violence, corruption and vote rigging. In December 2010 ORB was commissioned to carry out a nationally representative opinion poll of the Nigerian population to measure attitudes towards the forthcoming elections in April 2011 and to provide information that can be used to enhance the credibility of the process.

The credibility of an election result is dependent upon two key variables: turnout and a fair and credible voting procedure. To assess these elements ORB used multivariate analysis to create two indices: Political Engagement and Electoral Outlook.

The Political Engagement Index combined data on voting intention, previous voting behaviour and party activity. The index identified four segments within the population ranging from the ‘Fully Engaged’ through to the ‘Apathetic’. Profiling the clusters identified demographic and attitudinal characteristics of each group and highlighted the demographic groups where outreach work would be most effectively targeted to increase participation in the electoral process.

The Electoral Outlook Index was created by combining indicators of three key factors: Preparations i.e. that the local polling centres are sufficiently staffed and have adequate supplies of voting materials etc.; Anticipated levels of corruption and fraud and Anticipated levels of violence. Collecting the GPS co-ordinate from the sample points allowed ORB to map the Index to highlight ‘Electoral Hotspots’ where there is the greatest need for increased provision of security and independent election observers.

For more information on conducting research in complex environments, please email ORB International

Electoral hot spots

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