A first public opinion poll, involving 95% of registered voters and willing to vote in the December Election, predicts a victory of incumbent President Adama Barrow and his party on December 4th, 2021.
Conducted by the Center for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies (CEPRASS), the poll analyzed the findings from the opinion survey focusing on three main issues: electorates perception on the election and electoral reforms; voting intention and perception on the peaceful election; and COVID-19 and the polls.
The data collection started on 27th July 2021 and ended on 10th August 2021 covering the selected households identified in the sampling stage.
Therefore, the respondents were asked about their voting intention and perception of the political parties and their chances of being victorious.
Adama Barrow and NPP lead other candidates and parties
There is still a large pool of undecided voters (40 %) about the intentions to vote, but the incumbent’s party, NPP, leads the polls on intention to vote among the 60% decided voters, followed by UDP APRC and GDC.
Most of the participants in the poll (about 43%) reported they can’t tell at this moment which party is likely to win as a lot of things are still possible. Notwithstanding, 31% percent of the respondent revealed that the current president’s party, the National People’s Party (NPP), is likely to win the election.
About 15% of the respondent reported that United Democratic Party (UDP) is likely to win the election, which is followed by Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) and Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC); each mentioned by 3% of the respondents as the party that will likely win the election.
Just 2% of respondents think the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) will win the election. Likewise, only 1% reported that Citizen’s Alliance (CA) would be the winner of this year’s election, with parties like NRP and GMC mentioned by less than 1% of respondents as potential winners of this year’s election.
The proportion of electorates not sure on the’ likely to win’ is high in all regions. The main parties get favorable predictions, mainly in regions where they are seemingly popular.
The intention to vote by region indicates that there are a lot of undecided voters in all regions, and the main parties are performing well in regions where they are seemingly popular.
When profiling the Undecided Voters, the poll results show that the undecided voters mainly hail from Brikama, Janjangbureh, and Kerewan, cumulatively accounting for 48% of the undecided voters 51% of the undecided are illiterate.
What the voters expect from the candidates
The results revealed that youth employment is considered the most crucial issue that the electorates think any candidate needs to address, followed by agriculture, security, health, and education. The issues of less priority to the electorates are civil service reform, government debt management, and stability of the Gambian Dalasi.
Corruption, public transport, and food prices are issues of concern to electorates, but not so much as the high priority issues mentioned above.
Electorates’ most critical electoral reforms agenda is having term limits (45%) and a simple majority system (23%).
The electorates consider the party manifesto (63 %) and the education of the party leader (23%) as are most important factors to consider when looking for a candidate to support.
IEC and the conduct of a peaceful election
A majority of the electorates believe that the chances of a peaceful election are high- between 75 and 100% for half of the respondents, 50 to 75% for a third of the respondents.
In this poll, potential voters were asked about the IEC’s handling of the electoral process, especially the voter registration process. About 89% have reported that the IEC’s handling of the registration process was either good or excellent, with only 5% reporting that it was either poor or very poor. Generally, therefore, electorates seem to be very happy with the way the IEC handled the registration process. At the same time, most of the respondents believe that IEC will conduct a free and fair election in the December 2021 election.
Notwithstanding, a large percentage of the respondents believe that IEC did enough not to register foreigners.
While conducting this poll, the design adapted the recent Gambia National Bureau of Statistics’ Integrated Household Survey (IHS) with telephone numbers as the frame, which comprises 14,191 households from 8 local government areas (LGAs) within 48 districts in The Gambia. A multi-stage sampling design was used where households were stratified according to LGAs in the first stage. Then, proportional sampling was used at each stratum (LGA) to select a representative sample of districts.
In the final stage, a random number of households were selected from each district. Overall, 34 districts, of which 969 respondents were selected for the opinion poll. To account for nonresponses, which is usually high in telephone surveys, sampling with replacement was used. Specifically, oversampling of respondents was done at the districts level. In each district, 50 percent of the respondents were oversampled to take care of the nonresponses.