Political Aspirants, Parties and Traditional Media; Top Factors that Influence Nigerian Voters

Abuja, Nigeria. June 24th, 2014 - Latest Election Snap poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that the three main factors that affect the voting behaviour of Nigerian voters are “Political aspirants” (41%)“Political parties” (21%) and “Traditional media” (TV, radio & Newspapers)(19%). In addition, more female respondents are influenced by “political aspirants” (46%) and “Political parties” (23%), while more male respondents are influenced by the “Traditional media” (23%). More findings revealed that almost 4 in 10 Nigerians (38%) are willing to accept a gift from a political party or aspirant if offered, and the majority (62%) would like to receive money as a gift. However when asked if the gift would influence their decisions, only 12% admitted a gift would certainly affect their voting decisions. Furthermore the willingness to accept a gift decreased with a progression in age since respondents aged between 18-21 years (65%) are most willing to accept a gift, and are also most likely to be influenced by a gift (43%) in their voting decisions.These were some of the key findings from the recent Countdown to the 2015 Election poll conducted in the week of June 16th 2014.

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Brief Background
In Nigeria, there are internal and external factors that affect the voting decisions of citizens which in turn have implications on the overall outcome of elections. These are often the most crucial elements of elections in Nigeria because they are not limited to political parties, aspirants and the obligation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in conducting a free and fair election.
 
NOIPolls conducted its latest Countdown to the 2015 Election poll with a focus on factors that influence voting decisions during elections which could in turn affect the voters’ behaviour and the outcome of elections. The Countdown to the 2015 Election Polls are conducted bi-Monthly by NOIPolls; the first one was conducted in February 2014.
 
Key Findings
Respondents to the poll were initially asked if they were registered voters and were willing to vote. Respondents who were registered voters and willing to vote in the 2015 election continued with the interview and responded to five specific questions. On the other hand, interviews of respondents who were not registered and not willing to vote were excluded from further participation in the poll. In order to gauge the confidence of Nigerians about the 2015 elections, respondents were asked: How certain are you that the general elections will hold in February 2015? The outcome establishes that slightly more than half (53%) of the respondents are very certain the election will hold. This is followed by 35% of the respondents who are somewhat certain while 10% are not certain it will hold. 
 
Analysis according to geopolitical zones shows that the North-Central zone accounts for the highest ratio of respondents (79%) who are very certain that the 2015 elections will hold in February 2015 while the North-East zone has the highest ratio of respondents who are somewhat certain the election will hold. Further analysis by age-group revealed that respondents aged 61 years and above have the highest proportion of respondents (82%) who are very certain elections will hold.

 

Subsequently respondents were asked: What source of information affects your decision to vote for a candidate?  Respondents were encouraged to list as many information sources as possible. Results show that the top sources of information that influence voting decisions are “political aspirants”, “political parties” and “traditional media” (TV, radio & Newspapers) with41%, 21% and 19% respectively. Therefore, the voting decisions of Nigerians are mostly affected by political aspirants and their campaigns, the peculiarities and representation of political parties and perceptions obtained through the media.

 
More female than male respondents are influenced by "political aspirants" (46% compared with 37%), while more male than female respondents are influenced by the “traditional media”(23% compared with 14%). Furthermore, the South-East zone (61%) accounted for the highest ratio of respondents who indicated “political aspirants” was the main source of information which affects their voting decisions, the North-west zone has the largest proportion of respondents who are mostly influenced by “political parties” and “traditional media” (TV, Radio & Newspaper) in their voting decisions with 30% and 28% respectively. 

It is interesting to observe that those aged between 18-21 years have the highest proportion of respondents (83%) who indicated “political aspirants” as the source of information which affects their voting decisions while those aged 61 years and above have the highest proportion of respondents (60%) who are influenced by “political parties“ in their voting decisions. This shows that young Nigerians are mostly influenced by the actual candidates while older Nigerians are mostly influenced by the political parties.

 

To further assess factors which could also affect voting decisions, respondents were asked:Would a gift (e.g. money, clothes, food items or contract) affect your decision to vote for a political party or aspirant? Responses revealed that the overwhelming majority of the respondents (88%) responded negatively showing they would not be influenced by a gift therefore it would not affect their determination to vote for a political party or aspirant, while12% responded positively affirming that a gift would affect their voting decisions.

Slightly more female than male respondents (14% compared with 10%) affirmed a gift would affect their decision to vote. The North-East zone has the highest number of respondents (94%)that said a gift will not affect their voting decision while the North-West zone has the highest proportion of respondents (19%) who indicated a gift would affect their decision to vote. It is also pertinent to note that those aged between 18-21 years (43%) are most influenced by a gift in their voting decisions.

 

Furthermore, cross analysis involving information sources and likelihood of a gift affecting their voting decisions showed that respondents who mostly rely on traditional rulers as their source of information account for the highest ratio of respondents (47%) who claim that a gift would affect their decision to vote as well. In addition, the majority of these individuals (89%) fall in the22-45 age-groups.

Regardless of the response given to the previous question, respondents were further asked: If offered, would you be willing to accept a gift (e.g. money, clothes, food items or contract) from a political party or aspirant? Findings indicates that the majority of Nigerians(62%) would not be willing to accept a gift from a political party or aspirant even if they are offered. On the contrary, almost 4 in 10 Nigerians (38%) of the respondents responded positively showing they will accept a gift, even though this might not necessarily influence their decision to vote for the party or aspirant.
 
Evaluating the findings from the geopolitical zone standpoint reveals that the North-West zone has the greatest number of respondents (60%) that claim they will accept a gift from a political party or aspirant if offered, while the South-West zone has the highest ratio of respondents(76%) that claim they will not accept a gift if offered. The willingness to accept a gift is inversely proportionate to advancement in age since respondents aged between 18-21 years (65%) are most willing to accept a gift, while respondents aged 61 years and above (14%) are least willing to accept a gift.
 
Further cross analysis revealed 31% of respondents who are willing to accept a gift if offered claimed that a gift will not influence the political party or aspirant they will vote for.

 

Respondents who are willing to accept a gift (38% of the total) were further asked: What kind of gift would you be willing to receive from a political party or aspirant? The overall majority of respondents (62%) stated “Money” as the gift they would willingly accept from a political party or aspirant. Furthermore, 18% of the respondents claim they will accept “Any kind of gift” and 16% say “Promised job/contract”.

Analysis based on geo-political zone revealed that the North-West zone has the highest proportion of respondents (81%) who prefer “Money”, while the North-East zone has the largest ratio of respondents that will accept “Any kind of gift” from a political party or aspirant with 42%. In addition, the 18-21 age-group have the highest number of respondents who would be willing to accept “Money” as a gift (86%).

 

Additionally, cross analysis of those that will be influenced by a gift and the kind of gift they are willing to receive show that 67% prefer “Money” followed 18% who prefer a “Promised job/contract”. This further reinforces the fact that Nigerians who are willing to sell their votes mostly want to obtain money or secure a job/contract.

 

In conclusion, the recent poll results have revealed that the majority of Nigerian voters(41%) would be influenced by political aspirants in their voting decisions, followed by political parties (21%) and then traditional media (TV, radio & Newspapers) (19%) amongst others. Also 53% of Nigerians are very certain that the February 2015 general elections will hold. The poll also revealed that 12% asserted a gift from a political party or aspirant will definitely affect their voting decision and if offered a gift, almost 4 in 10 respondents (38%) will willingly accept, even though this might not necessarily influence their decision to vote for the party or aspirant. When asked the type of gift they were willing to receive, the overall majority (62%) of respondents indicated “money” followed by 18% of the respondents who will accept “any kind of gift” and 16% who indicated “promised job/contract” as the gift they are willing to accept from a political party or aspirant. These further highlights the impact of certain factors that could influence the voting behaviours of voters and in effect the overall outcome of an election.

 
Survey Methods
The opinion poll was conducted in June 16th to 17th 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, No.1 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 www.noi-polls.com
 
Disclaimer
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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