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New nationwide poll puts Peter Obi ahead of Atiku, Tinubu, runoff likely in 2023 presidential election

Another new face-to-face nationwide poll on the 2023 general elections has put the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, ahead with 37% of the survey respondents.

Obi is followed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who secured 27% of the survey responses, while the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, secured 24% with New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate securing at 6% of survey respondents.

This disclosure is contained in a press statement by Nextier, an African-focused consulting firm, where it presented the second presidential poll conducted it conducted, on  Friday, January  27,  2023, 4 weeks before the scheduled presidential elections.

The Nextier team used a sample size of 3,000 respondents and generated a margin of error of 2% at a 95% confidence interval.

The survey sample represented the age and gender demographics in Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Although Labour Party secured the highest voter preference, it is unlikely to secure an outright first-round victory. None of the presidential candidates met both criteria for victory in the first round: a majority of votes cast and 25% in two-thirds of the states.

Runoff election likely despite Labour party lead.

The survey results show that Labour Party can achieve 25% of the votes in 23 states, meaning that the presidential election could head to a runoff between Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar or Bola Tinubu.

Most registered voters (72%) have decided on their preferred party. This result is consistent across rural and urban voters. Similarly, the survey data demonstrates that respondents are certain in their choices.

The survey showed that 83% of the respondents indicated that nothing would make them change their preferred party before the election. It is important to note that the survey questionnaire showed the party logos and names instead of the candidates’ names or images.

Significantly higher voter turnout expected in 2023 presidential election

Nextier in its report from the survey noted that voter turnout in the 2023 presidential election could be significantly higher than in 2019. For instance, 77% of respondents indicated that they ‘will vote in this election, while 63% stated that they “will definitely vote.”

This level of commitment was consistent across all age and gender demographics in rural and urban communities. Despite the voter commitment, turnout could be depressed by a combination of factors, which include insecurity, concerns about the freedom and fairness of the election, and concerns about the impartiality of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).

Only 52% of the respondents trust that the elections will be free and fair.  Only 47% of respondents trust that INEC will not manipulate the results.

2023 election to be the most keenly contested in decades

The founding partner of Nextier, Patrick O. Okigbo stated that the 2023 presidential election is shaping to be one of the most keenly contested races in recent decades.

He said, ‘’It is exciting to see Nigerians take their civic responsibilities seriously.’

He confirmed that, in addition to the two national polls, Nextier would continue to provide data analysis and insights on Nigeria’s selections and other development issues.

In summary, although the Labour Party secured the highest voter preference, Nigeria’s 2023 presidential elections will likely go into a second-round runoff with Peter Obi and one of either Atiku Abubakar or Bola Tinubu.

For the record

  • This is the second poll that Nextier is conducted in recent times for the 2023 presidential elections.
  • Recall that in November 2022, Nextier had in an opinion poll it conducted, tipped Peter Obi to be the winner of the 2023 election if it was held then.
  • Conducted in rural communities, the survey interviewed 2,000 Nigerian registered voters in 12 states across the six geopolitical zones. The Nextier survey team said they excluded the home states of the leading presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
  • The poll suggests a 3-horse presidential race between Mr. Obi, Bola Tinubu of the APC, and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. Though with a strong support base in Nigeria’s north-west, particularly his Kano home state, Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP is not considered a top contender, according to the survey.
  • The poll results show that Mr. Obi leads in rural communities at 40.37%. Mr. Abubakar is at a distant second with 26.7%, closely followed by Tinubu at 20.47%.

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