It is 17 days to the start of the 2023 presidential elections. The pressure has only gotten werser, with various opinion polls showing which of the ‘Big 4’ of Nigeria’s presidential candidates could win Nigeria’s iron throne.

The ‘Big 4’

So far, all the opinion polls released have had an inconclusive winner — until the release of Nigeria’s first predictive poll by Stears Insights. And the winner? None other than Labour Party candidate Peter Obi! He was declared the winner by a whopping 27% ahead of APC’s Bola Tinubu (15%), PDP’s Atiku Abubakar (12%), and NNPP’s Rabiu Kwankwaso (2%).

[Premium Times/Pendrops]

But you must be wondering — what the heck is a predictive poll, and how did Stears come about their results? Let’s show you how they did it here:

What is a predictive poll?

Before getting into the nitty gritty of a predictive poll, it is important to note one key thing about previous opinion polls, which is the appearance of silent voters. 

Silent voters do not reveal who they would vote for as their preferred candidates. The ANAP poll of December 2022 gives a good example of this:

However, with Stears, they found a solution to this: create a proprietary estimation model that predicts scenarios for the most likely voting patterns for silent voters within a data set. With this, one can have a comprehensive “prediction of the future” concerning the 2023 presidential elections. Thus, the name “predictive poll”. Get it?

Now that we understand what a predictive poll is let’s look at how Stears came to their conclusion and the various scenarios in which Obi was declared the winner.

The methodology behind Stears predictive poll

To make a nationally representative poll, Stears interviewed 6,220 people — making it the largest public opinion electoral poll for the 2023 elections. People from the sample data set were randomly selected by state and gender to mirror the distribution of registered voters in Nigeria. All 36 states and the FCT were polled. 

One unique thing about the sample size and breakdown is that it enables one to make predictions at the state level, which is a unique feature of Stears’ predictive poll.

Now that we know about the methodology let’s review the scenarios.

The silent voter turnout scenario

Stears’ predictive model analysed the preferences of the transparent voters and the revealed preferences of silent voters to estimate the most likely preferred candidate for each silent voter.

The model assigns 43% of undeclared votes to Tinubu. This suggests that most silent voters are Tinubu supporters. However, Obi is still the predicted winner when the reassigned silent voters are added to the declared voter count.

The high voter turnout scenario

NB – Red stands for Peter Obi, Sky blue stands for Tinubu, Green stands for Atiku, and Dark Blue stands for Kwankwaso

Stears created a high-turnout scenario and applied it to the prediction model. This includes everyone who declared an intention to vote. This is except for those who still needed to collect their PVC. Undecided voters who were unsure whether they wanted to vote are also included.

In this case, Obi gets 41% of the vote, holding a comfortable lead over Tinubu, based on the model’s predictions. The high-turnout scenario corresponds to a turnout of roughly 80% on election day.

The low voter turnout scenario

NB – Red stands for Peter Obi, Sky blue stands for Tinubu, Green stands for Atiku, and Dark Blue stands for Kwankwaso

Even though one might want to be optimistic, let’s face it. Nigeria has had a sordid history of low voter turnout for elections since 1999. Therefore, one needs to account for a scenario where the voters simply don’t show up.

The low-voter turnout scenario only included people who:

  • Had their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC);
  • Stated that they are sure about their chosen candidate;
  • Felt very confident in the electoral process;
  • Were sure they would vote;
  • Felt safe going out to vote.

In a low voter turnout scenario, Tinubu edges the vote. The low-turnout scenario resulted in a turnout of roughly 28% on the day.

Now you’ve seen how your vote counts in making your favourite presidential candidates win the elections. Make sure to rush to the polls with your PVC come February 25. Defend your rights and fight for your life!

Stears Insights is a data & intelligence company providing subscription-based data and insight to global businesses and professionals. Stears’ mission is to become the world’s most trusted provider of African data & insight to global professionals.

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