Center for Progressive Governance (CenProG) is a governance research and social advocacy group based in Ghana.
Over the last couple of years, we have contributed to critical national issues especially in the area of our good governance with analysis on both the government and the opposition parties.
Having done an assessment on the performance of the NPP government in almost 2 years, there became an urgent need to conduct a research into how the NDC would fair against the NPP and which candidate was likely to give the ruling government a keen contest in 2020.
We therefore launched a research into how the voter pattern of the flagbearership contest of the NDC would look like and its impact on their electoral fortunes. This research was conducted in 180 constituencies across 8 regions out of 275 constituencies in 10 regions. The report will explain why 2 regions were left out of the research and how it affects the outlook of the report.
This report gives the likely voting patterns in the various constituencies visited and what would influence their choice of candidate. It may also guide some aspirants as to where their strengths may lie and how they can alter the stakes in their favour.
It is our hope that this report would serve its purpose and help in shaping our democracy through critical thinking and intellectual analysis.
We are grateful to all respondents who partook in this research; most of whom are branch executives of the NDC. We like to express our profound gratitude also to our team of volunteers and everyone who helped to make this project a success.
Executive Secretary, CenProG
Our volunteers visited 47 constituencies in the Ashanti region; 17 constituencies in the Central region; 31 constituencies in the Northern region; 31 constituencies in the Eastern region; 34 in the Greater Accra region; 15 constituencies in the Upper East region; 26 constituencies in the Volta region and 26 constituencies in the Western region.
We agreed before the commencement of the project that due to limited funding and resources, it was impossible to visit all 275 constituencies in the 10 regions. Considering the fact that the electoral dynamics of the Upper East and Upper West regions were similar and also the similarity in the dynamics of the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, we chose to collect data from Ashanti and Upper East because they had more constituencies. We also could not visit 6 constituencies in the Central region due to funding and 2 constituencies in the Eastern region because there are no elected constituency executives.
In constituencies with more than 100 branches (each branch represents a polling station), we interacted with 20 branch executives and 5 constituency executives whiles in constituencies with less than 100 branches, we interacted with 10 branch executives and 3 constituency executives. This is because all branch and constituency executives will be voting in the presidential primaries of the NDC. We did not interact with any regional or national executive.
Respondents were given 5 candidates (John Mahama, Hon. Alban Bagbin, Hon. Spio Garbrah, Prof. Joshua Alabi and Sylvester Mensah) to choose their preference in the order of who they would most likely prefer to be flagbearer to who they least preferred. They were also asked what influenced their choice and the effect the loss of their preferred candidate might have on their choice in the general elections in 2020. Respondents were also asked to give other factors that would influence their vote in the general elections apart from their choice of flagbearer.
- JOHN MAHAMA IS THE OVERWHELMING FAVOURITE TO WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES
Former President John Mahama will most likely win the NDC primaries by over 85% of the popular votes. This is largely because of the expanded electoral college of the party where all branch executives would be allowed to vote. John Mahama averaged 89% from data collected from only the branch executives across the 180 constituencies and fell to an average of 82% from that of the constituency executives. In Ashanti region, John Mahama is likely to get his highest endorsement of 92% with a margin of error of +/-3. John Mahama may have to work a bit harder in the Greater Accra and Volta regions if he wants to get an endorsement of over 80% in those 2 regions.
- ALBAN BAGBIN IS SECOND CHOICE TO JOHN MAHAMA; HON. SPIO GARBRAH, PROF. JOSHUA ALABI AND HON. SYLVESTER MENSAH WILL NOT MAKE ANY IMPACT
The 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Alban Bagbin is most likely to come second to John Mahama in the primaries albeit with 10% of the popular votes. Contrary to our view before we embarked on this project, Hon. Bagbin seems to enjoy some form of support especially among constituency executives. A lot of the branch executives also chose him as their second choice over Spio Garbrah, Joshua Alabi and Sly Mensah.
The most surprising fact of this project is the fact that Spio Garbrah might struggle to get 3% of the popular vote whiles Prof. Joshua Alabi may get 1.5% with Sylvester Mensah managing 0.5% of the popular votes. What accounted for Spio Garbrah’s bad performance is the fact that respondents have mixed feelings as to if or not he would even contest and so are unable to stick their neck out for him. Not a single respondent placed either Prof Joshua Alabi or Sylvester Mensah as their second choice or third choices; not even respondents from their home region of Greater Accra. Respondents felt comfortable placing Prof. Alabi as their fourth choice and on a few occasion as their fifth choice.
- WINNERBILITY TOPS LIST OF WHAT INFLUENCED RESPONDENTS’ CHOICE
The NDC is determined to win political power in 2020 and so of all the factors that informed the choice of respondents, 68% based their choice on the candidate’s ability to win the general elections in 2020;15% of respondents made their choice based on the candidates ability to unite the rank and file of the party; 10% of the respondents based their choice on candidate’s experience; 5% of respondents considered the candidate’s regional affiliation key to their choice and 2% of respondents based their choice on monetary influence.
- THE ABSENCE OF JOHN MAHAMA FROM THE NDC TICKET WOULD RESULT IN VOTER APATHY
Most respondents believe that it is only John Mahama who can give the party electoral victory in 2020. It is their considered opinion and belief that any candidate apart from John Mahama would mean the party is not thinking about the 2020 elections but the 2024 general elections. An NDC presidential ticket without John Mahama would therefore breed apathy and a disinterest in the 2020 campaign. This is because respondents believe a ticket without Mahama is not capable of winning the 2020 elections and so their efforts would be in vain. The absence of any of the other candidates does not seem to bother the respondents in this research. It is therefore in the interest of the NDC that John Mahama becomes their flagbearer for the 2020 elections.
- THE ECONOMY AND A SUPERIOR MANIFESTO KEY TO NDC’S ELECTORAL FORTUNES
When asked what could influence their vote in the general elections apart from their choice of flagbearer, 38% of respondents said the economy whiles 35% of respondents indicated the NDC would need a superior manifesto for the 2020 general elections. 14% of respondents could be influenced by the choice of running mate; 8% of respondents would vote based on how well the party connects with the grassroots and 5% of respondents feel their choice of flagbearer is enough reason for them to vote for the NDC.