UG Research: Results not a reflection of people's dislike for Mahama - Otokunor
Deputy General Secretary of the opposition NDC, Peter Boamah Otokunor has branded the results of a recent survey conducted by the University of Ghana Political Science Department as a misrepresentation of the facts on the ground.
The survey results among other things sought people's views on which political party they wished governed the country and which candidate between President AKufo-Addo and former President Mahama they preferred.
Presenting the findings on Wednesday, head of the Political Science Department at the University of Ghana, Dr. Maame Gyekye-Jandoh disclosed that President Akufo-Addo would have led the poll with 49.3% with John Mahama trailing behind with 33.3% and Dr. Kwesi Nduom getting about 7%.
“For Nana Akufo-Addo, 49.3% said they would vote for him, 33.3% said they would vote for Mahama and 7.35% for Paa Kwesi Nduom,” she said.
The outcome of the results for political party preference was not too different from the results of the preferred candidate as the Political Science Department head told the gathering, "48.9% of our respondents said they would vote for the NPP if elections were to be held today. 32.2% said they would vote for the NDC, 3.3% for the PPP, 1.7% for the CPP, 0.4% for the PNC and 0.2% for the NDP."
But the NDC Deputy General Secretary disagrees with the belief that the poll is a reflection of Ghanaians’ dislike for the former President.
He said, considering the margin the NPP and President Akufo-Addo won by in the landslide victory of 2016 elections, the outcome of the research by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana is rather an indictment on the current President and a testament of his dipping popularity.
"When they were analysing or they were requesting for information from the respondents based on who they are going to vote for if elections were held today, they did it in two folds. They did it on party basis and they did it on the candidate basis. When you look at on party basis we are still going into a run-off so irrespective of whoever is standing as a flagbearer for the NDC, we are still going for a runoff," the Deputy General Secretary of the opposition NDC stated.
"Political psychologists will tell you that the verdict does not lie on the opposition, it lies on the incumbent, people vote on you, people vote based on you the incumbent, people vote on what you do and do not do, your actions and inactions. They do not vote on the opposition. If you do the analysis carefully, you will realise that the NPP did not gain substantially some number of votes compared to 2012. The NDC rather lost our votes that we lost in 2012. So the verdict was on the President Mahama government. In this case, they are also casting another verdict on the Akufo-Addo government and the verdict is that now you are performing far below the 50% mark and that you will need to go for runoff," Peter Boamah Otokunor analysed.
This representation, Peter Otokunor believes, leaves much to be desired as the views of the respondents on the core issues of the research does not tally with the outcome.
He stressed, "The candidates do not matter. The key thing that is revealing is that, with these figures, you will realise that the respondents, if indeed this was their output reflect particular thinking which is not informed by the issues. It is not informed by the individuals - perhaps maybe more by the issues but not by the candidates that you present."
We don't regard opinion polls
Peter Boamah Otokunor also mentioned in the interview with www.Ghanaweb.com that the NDC as has been the position in recent times does not regard opinion polls and research work conducted by external bodies irrespective of the outcome.
He asserted that the party has strong internal mechanisms and an election directorate that conducts its own research and makes its own findings.
Deputy General Secretary also insisted that the party's strategies are informed by their research which in most cases use larger sample sizes and is likely to be closer to the situation on the grounds compared to external research.
To buttress his point, Peter Otokunor cited findings of the research which disclosed people's disappointment in President AKufo-Addo's failure to live up to expectation particularly in fulfilling his key campaign promises yet, preferred him to former President Mahama.
This, he emphasised represents a disjoint in the findings and outcome of the research conducted by the University of Ghana Political Science Department to assess the NPP government's two years in office.
"Looking at the Free SHS problems which was revealed in this report, what the respondents think about the Free SHS, what they think about the Double Track System. How they think this government is not improving and solving the problems properly in terms of health and security. How they think that the economic issues are not responding to their needs, how they think that the economic policies are making them worst off, how they think that corruption has become endemic in this country and you put them together in making a decision for who rules this country you will see that there is a little bit of a problem in the final outcome," he detailed.
Peter Boamah Otokunor continued, "Even though we are not into using these kinds of polls in preparing our strategies, we are not into it at all, and we have said that repeatedly anytime there are polls like this and we discuss - the Afrobarometer and all those things. We make the point that we are informed by the real statistical instrument that we generate to identify the issues that must dominate our campaign and the strategies we must use to win our elections. We do not get driven by these polls and most at times some of the sample sizes that we would use to do our analysis, these polls will not use such sample size and so it will not reflect the true will and aspirations of the people and if you want even the worries of the people"
The NDC, however, has requested for the respondents' reactions and other data from the researchers at the Political Science Department to conduct an independent analysis of issues raised.
The party has also accused the researchers of being politically biased and alleging that they (researchers) have strong affiliation with the party in power.
The research was conducted by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana with funding from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Political Foundation in Germany.