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September 26, 2012

Ghana Poll Research Group Comes Under Fire

by Peter Clottey

In Ghana, the IPSOS marketing research firm has come under fire from both the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) following its recently conducted opinion poll.

In its latest public opinion poll, IPSOS said President John Mahama’s NDC had 34.2 percent of the prospective vote while rival Nana Akufo Addo’s NPP had 31.8 percent.

The Progressive People’s Party followed with 5.3 percent, the Convention People's Party managed 3.6 percent of the votes and the People’s National Convention (PNC) had 1.9 percent. Other parties got less than one percent of the vote.

The two leading parties said their internal polling differs sharply from IPSOS results, which they dismissed as not representing the current situation on the ground.

But Willie Mensah, IPSOS research manager, defended his firm’s results, saying they were based on solid public opinion research practice.

“This time ‘round when we went to the field it was between the 11th of August and the 24th of August, the state was in mourning, when we lost our late president. So, we decided not to ask questions on personalities. What we decided to ask was if presidential elections were organized in Ghana today, which political party would you vote for? That was the question we posed,” said Mensah.

Some analysts were surprised by the performance of the two leading political parties in their usual strongholds in IPSOS’ latest poll.

Mensah acknowledged some of the polling results were surprising.

“The most interesting results that we had [were] in the Ashanti and the Northern regions,” he said. “If you look at the Ashanti region, the NDC polled 33.5 percent as against the NPP’s 33.2 percent and this has never happened.”

“[In] all the polls that have been conducted, the Ashanti region is the stronghold of the NPP and everybody expected that they [would] poll very big,” he said.

But Mensah also said the NPP performed unusually well in the Northern region, which is regarded as the stronghold of the NDC.

“This time around the NPP polled 41.5 percent as against 24.9 percent for the NDC,” he said.

Clottey interview with Willie Mensah, IPSOS'-Ghana research manager