Majority of Ghanaians have expressed confidence in the integrity and competence of the Electoral Commission (EC) and its ability to conduct free and fair elections on December 7.
In a pre-election survey conducted by the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD-Ghana), the citizens believe as adequate, the EC’s level of preparedness, together with other election-related state and non-state agencies including the military and police.
Presenting the findings of the survey at a news conference in Accra on Friday, the Director of Research of the CDD-Ghana, Dr Edem Selormey, noted that most Ghanaians believed that the EC and other state elections-related bodies were well prepared for the election.
The survey, she pointed out, rated the preparedness of the institutions as 91 per cent for the Ghana Armed Forces, 89 per cent for the media, 87 per cent for the police, 83 per cent for the EC and 66 per cent for the National Peace Council.
The survey report also revealed that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) enjoys a significant advantage over the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) with respect to public confidence in the ability to deliver on campaign promises.
It placed the NPP at a 15 percentage point over the NDC.
The survey, which had 2,400 respondents, was conducted between September 28 and October 16, 2020.
First conducted in 2016, the CDD-Ghana pre-election survey is aimed at picking early warning signals by tracking citizens’ opinions on the overall level of the country’s preparedness for elections; public confidence in the competence, integrity and neutrality of election-relevant state and quasi-state bodies; and voter behaviour, expectations, priorities and potential turnout.
It is also to isolate and identify voter concerns regarding election security, physical intimidation, violence, and perceived peacefulness of the political environment.
CDD had funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the survey.
According to the survey report, assessment of the Akufo-Addo and NPP government is broadly positive, giving them particularly high grades for the handling of COVID-19 crises, electricity, and education.
However, the findings have generated a general disagreement amongst respondents who tend to quiz whether or not the country is heading in the right direction.
“Ghanaians are split on direction of the country. While almost half (47%) say the country is going in the ‘right direction,’ the same proportion say the country is heading in the ‘wrong direction’, the report pointed out.
It also highlighted that even though the NPP enjoys public confidence, there were concerns regarding possible violence during the elections, leading to calls for armed men at polling stations.
“There is considerable apprehension about violence by party and candidate supporters. They remain concerned about the activities of party vigilantes – which is underscored by the desire of 8 in 10 respondents in our survey for armed security personnel present at the polling stations”.
Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at CDD Ghana, Dr. Kojo Asante advised that the issue ought to be handled with care by security agencies, in order to prevent an unexpected turn of events.
Desire to vote
According to the findings, notwithstanding some apprehension about polling centre violence, most eligible Ghanaians registered to vote, and many were actually planning to vote.
It said nearly all respondents reported that they were registered to vote, with nine out of 10 of those interviewed indicating an intention to vote.
The findings revealed that the strong resolve to vote had downplayed the likelihood of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) depressing voter turnout on Election Day.
However, a substantial majority of respondents want to see independent domestic and international observers present for the polls.
Every adult citizen had an equal chance of being selected for the 2020 pre-election survey.
A national representative sample of 2,400 adult citizens was randomly sampled and distributed across regions and urban-rural areas in proportion to their share in the national adult population.
Face-to-face interviews were conducted in the language of the respondent’s choice (a standard English questionnaire was translated into Twi, Ewe, Ga, Dagbani and Dagaare).
Sample size of 2,400 yields a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
Fieldwork (or data collection) for the 2020 pre-election survey was conducted from September 28 to October 16, 2020.