The factors that underline why Buhari will likely win
This new survey reinforces our earlier position that the real story of the 2015 elections will not be so much about the scale of the likely victory in the presidential elections by Buhari, but about Goodluck Jonathan’s catastrophic loss of the 2011 coalition that propelled him to office. While the pool of swing voters in our earlier survey was as high as 23%, that number has now reduced to less than 5%. The last 6 weeks have been abysmal for Goodluck Jonathan’s electoral fortunes, as our results indicate that as many as 10 million largely undecided voters – about 23% of the participating electorate – have consolidated firmly behind Muhammadu Buhari.
As we earlier indicated, the most crippling statistic for Goodluck Jonathan is that about 65% of the respondents who voted for him in 2011 have indicated they will be voting for the opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 elections (see Figure 2). In contrast, Muhammadu Buhari will retain a staggering 99% of those who voted for him in 2011 (Figure 3), and further build on his voter tally by taking on about 66% of the voters who supported Jonathan in the 2011 elections but have chosen to switch to Buhari in the 2015 polls.
The disaffection with Jonathan is deep and pervasive…
Although 55% of all respondents indicated that they voted for Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, only about 18% of respondents either strongly approved or approved of the job that he is doing as president (Figure 4).
When the reasons for candidates preferences are analyzed, the (anti)corruption stance of the candidate, is the primary driver of voter behavior (see Figure 5). This is despite the fact that corruption continued to rank 5th amongst the key issues of concern to Nigerians (see Figure 6) – behind issues such as security, economic growth, jobs creation and power. It is not clear to us whether the issue of corruption was conflated by respondents to be an all-encompassing issue that affects other key areas of voter concern. This would be the case if respondents believed that the security challenges and the inability of the Nigerian military to effectively contain the Boko Haram crisis are linked with corruption.
Similar sentiments that might blame lax economic growth on corruption and embezzlement of funds, could also potentially explain why corruption is taking on a central role in this electoral cycle. While the underpinning factors that have made corruption the primary driver of the 2015 elections are not very clear, the fact is that majority of voters (59%) are making their choice for president based on the corruption standing of the candidates, with a larger number of them (58% of all voters) selecting Muhammadu Buhari as the clear anti-corruption champion compared to 0.8% for Jonathan. These numbers are a significant boon for Muhammadu Buhari. It appears that events in the last 6 weeks have further cemented in the minds of voters, their perception that Jonathan and the government he leads is corrupt.
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