Who thinks government is performing well? • What the latest opinion poll tells us

With election day just nine months away, interest is starting to bubble up about what will be the drivers of the December 2024 polling decisions.

For the past 23 years, Ghanaians have consistently changed governments every eight years and the question this year is, if it is really possible to buck this trend, what will be the drivers of that change?

Polling data on governance and performance gathered by Global InfoAnalytics, a Ghanaian research company founded by Mussa K. Dankwah in 2019, provides a fascinating view of what is currently on the minds of voters. Dankwah is the Executive Director and Head of Polling Analysis at Global InfoAnalytics.

Conducted over the past two weeks, the latest poll sought voters’ perceptions about the government’s performance issues such as standard of living, regional level perspectives, corruption in Ghana, confidence in the Ghana Police Service and the Electoral Commission, free senior high school (SHS) and LGBTQ.

Data were collected by 82 field volunteers across the country who interviewed 6,128 people between 22 March and 31 March.

The data indicate that 65 per cent of voters believe Ghana is moving in the wrong direction, while 25 per cent believe it is on the right track.

The gloomiest views are held in the Western, Volta and Greater Accra regions, where 86 per cent, 82 per cent and 79 per cent of voters respectively believe the country is taking the wrong direction.

Some of the divergence in opinion is quite predictable. For example, while 60 per cent of New Patriotic Party (NPP) voters believe Ghana is headed in the right direction, only severn per cent of National Democratic Congress (NDC) voters do. They join 15 per cent of those who did not disclose their party affiliation, 13 per cent of floating voters and a small minority of voters from all parties.

When it comes to rating the President’s job performance, 62 per cent disapprove of his performance while 32 per cent are happy with it. A majority of voters disapprove of the President’s performance in all regions except the Bono East and Eastern regions.

While 52 per cent of voters believe the government has performed ‘very poorly’ or ‘poorly’, according to the poll, six per cent said it had performed ‘excellently’. In between this range, 29 per cent rated the government’s performance as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ and 13 per cent said it had performed ‘averagely’.

When asked about their standard of living over the past 12 months, 51 per cent of voters said it had worsened, while 19 per cent said it had improved and 24 per cent believed it was unchanged.

These figures were compiled before last week’s fuel price increase, which is likely to affect perceptions negatively.

A majority of voters, 52 per cent, believe corruption under the NPP government has increased, while 19 per cent say it has improved and 24 per cent believe it is unchanged.

The tracking poll shows voters’ confidence in the Ghana Police Service and the Electoral Commission (EC) soaring for a second time since October 2023 when it comes to managing election security and the elections.

A significant 64 per cent of voters have confidence in the Police Service, contrasting with low numbers in the past. Another 28 per cent still do not have confidence in the service.

Confidence in the EC is also on the rise with 59 per cent of voters professing confidence in the electoral body compared to 32 per cent who do not.

On the Free SHS policy, the poll suggests that 67 per cent of voters benefited directly from the policy while 33 per cent did not. Of voters sampled, 61 per cent believe the policy has brought them financial relief, while 31 per cent say it did not and eight per cent have no opinion.

Despite the benefits, 67 per cent of voters said the policy should be reviewed, compared to 24 per cent who said it should not be reviewed and a further nine per cent who had no opinion.

On the controversial LGBTQ+ bill, which was passed by Parliament at the end of February, the poll shows that while 59 per cent of voters support its approval, 32 per cent do not support the bill and nine per cent do not have an opinion on the bill.

But, on whether the refusal of the President to assent to the bill will have electoral consequences, a majority of 50 per cent of voters said a refusal to sign the bill would not influence their vote in the December elections, while 37 per cent said it would and 13 per cent did not have an opinion.

Broken down by party affiliation, 58 per cent of NPP voters polled said the President’s failure to assent to the bill would not influence their vote, compared to 50 per cent of NDC voters. In addition, 44 per cent of floating voters and 46 per cent of those who did not disclose their party affiliation said the failure to assent to the bill would not change their vote.

Interestingly, in the Upper West Region, a striking 72 per cent of voters are against the bill, followed by 48% in Ashanti, 47 per cent in North East and 45 per cent in Ahafo.

The numbers show that Ghanaians are far less unanimous in their approval of the hate bill, which dishes out prison sentences of up to 10 years, than their Members of Parliament (MPs).

Moreover, the numbers supporting the bill are likely to taper off as we draw closer to the elections and cost of living issues come to the front of voters’ minds.

“Bread and butter issues will dominate; LGBTQ might resonate among just a few people,” Dankwah told the Graphic’s Your Ghana, My Ghana.

And with “huge numbers” already saying they will not vote, according to Dankwah, LGBTQ was unlikely to be a decider in this year’s election.

“Over the years, we’ve established with the data that when a party has done its eight years, the election to break the eight years has a lower turnout than the previous election,” Dankwah told Your Ghana, My Ghana.

“The last election had a 79 per cent turnout and we expect to see a 70 per cent turnout this year,” Dankwah said.

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