In the run-up to the 2004 presidential elections, the author predicted in his opinion polls that the incumbent, President John Agyekum Kufuor, would have a first round victory. The two per cent margin of error had the prediction as 53%-55%, he won with 52.4% of valid votes cast.
The author’s prediction for the 2008 presidential elections was that a run-o was likely as none of the two leading candidates would get the 50% plus votes to win on a first round. His opinion polls put the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Akufo-Addo at between 48.2%-50.2% (he had 49.13%). Prof. John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had his range of 44.7%-46.7% (he had 47.92%).
For the 2008 run-off , his opinion polls was that if the NPP’s political strongholds of Ashanti and Eastern Regions turned out to vote, Akufo-Addo would win. Ashanti did but Eastern did not and Prof. Mills won by a little over 40,000 votes.
One of the bestselling political books within the last decade has been ‘CHASING THE ELEPHANT INTO THE BUSH – the Politics of Complacency’. Written by a leading member of the NPP, Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy (popularly known as Arthur K). the book was basically about the NPP’s campaigns towards the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Under the sub-heading, Prophecies of Defeat on page 133, it stated in part: “About two months before the vote, I met Ben Ephson, the renowned pollster and political strategist in Cape Coast. When I asked him, as a strategist what he thought would determine the elections, he was very prophetic. He said “I think the NPP has three problems in this election. The problems are Central Region, Greater Accra and Ashanti. In Central and Greater Accra regions, you are trailing and need more support. In Ashanti, your problem is apathy. They support you but not enough will vote. My pollsters are picking up historic levels of apathy. It suggests that you need a major turnout operations to get your supporters in Ashanti to the polls.”
The sudden death on July 24, 2012 of the incumbent President, John Evans Atta Mills, continued a series of events which made opinion polls towards the 2012 presidential elections a slippery and tricky one.
Even before his untimely death, the President had competition for the selection of the NDC’s 2012 flagbearer. The wife of the Founder of the NDC, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, challenged Mills but got only 3% of the delegates votes, with the Prof. getting the rest.
Mrs. Rawlings felt she was popular and after her defeat at the NDC primary in Sunyani, formed a political party, the National Democratic Party (NDP) to contest the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections. She was not able to complete her documentation on registration day at the Electoral Commission (EC) to contest as a presidential candidate. Nana Konadu was consequently disqualified but her party was able to eld 154 parliamentary candidates. None of the 154 candidates had a refund of their deposits because no one had the required 121⁄2% (twelve and half percent) of votes cast in their various constituencies.
In the aftermath of President Mills death, as per the 1992 Constitution, Vice President John Dramani Mahama, was sworn in as President. Parliament later approved his choice of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr. Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, as his Vice.
The author had virtually completed opinion polls for the 2012 presidential elections, on the chances of the various political parties at the presidential and parliamentary candidates. Extra work had to be done to find out what extra a John Mahama candidature will bring to the political fortunes of his party – the NDC.
Increasingly, we realized that what Mahama was bringing to the NDC was regionalism, not ethnicity. By regionalism, many voters from the three northern regions – Upper West, Upper East and Northern, who have not been voting for the NDC, were now prepared to do so. The main reason was “it is time we (from the three northern regions) have someone as President.”
An analysis of the 2010 Population Census gave a possible explanation for the above reasons – nearly 80% of the nearly 25 million Ghanaians were below 40 years of age. That is when the last President from one of the three northern regions was overthrown in a military coup, the oldest among nearly 20 million Ghanaians was 11 years old. The person was the late ex-President Hilla Limann, who hailed from the Upper West Region.
Further analysis of the Census report indicated that the four main broad ethnic groupings in the three northern regions made up 25.9% of Ghana’s total population. The four are Mole/Dagbani – 16.6%; Gurma – 5.7%; Grusi – 2.5% and Mande – 1.1%.
There was not enough time to do a nationwide research, so we decided on five regions which had a total of 9.45 million registered voters, representing 67.35% of the total registered voters. The five regions also had substantial percentages of the four ethnic groups in the three northern regions.
Region Total No. Of Registered Voters Combined Total % of The Four Ethnic Groups
Greater Accra 2,792,527 8.8%
Ashanti 2,557,110 18.1%
Eastern 1,429,681 5.9%
Western 1,425,154 11.1%
Brong Ahafo 1,245,954 30.8%
Total 9,450,436 –
Based on our opinion polls, we put out a forecast the NDC’s candidate, John Mahama would have a first round victory with 52.2% of valid votes cast. When the results were declared by the EC on Sunday, December 9, 2012, Mahama was the winner with 50.70% of valid votes cast.
Mahama had 5,574,761 votes (50.70%), 325,863 votes more than Akufo-Addo’s total votes of 5,248,898 (47.74%).
The Official results sheet from the EC, dated December 2012 is available in Ben Ephson’s book, 2012 and 2016 Elections.
For 2012 and 2016 Elections
Title : 2012 and 2016 Elections
Author : Ben Ephson
ISBN : 978-9988-1-9962-3
Pages : 310
Publication Date : Oct 14, 2014
Contact Ben Ephson :