General News of Friday, 22 June 2012
Source: New Statesman
A string of internal opinion polls carried out by the ruling National Democratic Congress is causing fear and panic among party officials as all the polls point to one result: President Mills is set to become the first one-term President in Ghana’s history.
A March 2012 opinion poll, conducted by a South African PR Firm, which has been contracted by the NDC for the December election, put the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo, at 49.07%, with President Mills lagging behind with 47.07%.
This development did not amuse the NDC party hierarchy and therefore subsequently commissioned “pollster” and Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Dispatch Newspaper, Ben Ephson, to conduct an “independent” opinion poll in April on the chances of President Mills ahead of the 2012 poll.
Ben Ephson’s poll, according to sources at the party office, killed the morale of the top functionaries of the NDC as the results made for grim reading.
The results of Ben Ephson’s poll, after being asked ‘Who they will vote for in the 2012 elections’, had Nana Akufo-Addo obtaining 50.05%. President Mills fared rather worse in Ben Ephson’s poll, as he received 44.40% of respondents sampled.
The results of Ben Ephson’s April poll had Nana Akufo-Addo defeating President Mills in seven out of the 10 regions in the country, with President Mills winning only the Volta, Upper East and Upper West regions.
The regional breakdown of Ben Ephson’s polls is as follows: Ashanti-79.8% for Nana Akufo-Addo, 19.1% for Mills; Brong Ahafo - 55 .7% for Nana, 40.4% for Mills; Central Region – Nana Addo, 59.8, with 39.4 for Mills; Eastern - 68.9% for Nana Addo, 31.4% for Mills; Greater Accra -48.2% for Nana Addo, 46.9% for Mills; Northern - 51.3% for Nana Addo, 44.5% for Mills; Upper East - 39.8% for Nana Addo, 60.1% for Mills; Upper West - 40.4% for Nana Addo, 52.1% for Mills; Volta - 18.9% for Nana Addo, 74.9% for Mills; Western - 52.8% for Nana Addo, 41.5% for Mills.
Results from the two latest opinion polls informed decisions taken at an NDC Manifesto Committee meeting held earlier this month. At the meeting, it was accepted that the only way to defeat Nana Akufo-Addo was through vitriolic attacks as results from the poll show that the NDC has lost out on issues.
Even for the NDC’s so-called flagship sector, Agriculture, where it claims to have chalked unprecedented successes, the results of the opinion poll suggested otherwise.
Representatives of the South African PR firm engaged by the NDC thus advised the party that it cannot win when it concentrates on issues alone. Therefore, the only way the NDC and President Mills can emerge victorious is to find a way to scare Ghanaians off the opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo.
This scare-mongering is to be done through a rollout of some “serious avalanche of negative campaigning” against Nana Akufo-Addo in the last few months in the run-up to the December polls.
This tactic of trying to rundown Nana Akufo-Addo in the print and electronic media seems to have been stepped up in recent weeks, as per the advice of the South African firm, by NDC communicators and newspapers.
It is also recalled that in September 2011, having been confronted with empirical evidence of their defeat at the 2012 polls at a secret strategic retreat held at Shai Hills, the hierarchy of the ruling National Democratic Congress resolved to embark on a sustained and brutal character assassination of Nana Akufo-Addo, as this represented the only way the NDC could win the 2012 general elections.
Day three of the retreat themed “Communications skills and Strategy session” was chaired by Kofi Totobi Kwakye. During this session, the results of surveys commissioned by the NDC were presented and this clearly was not pleasant news to the NDC gurus gathered.
It was disclosed that a survey commissioned by the NDC and conducted by an international research and polling firm put President Mills at 39% and Nana Akufo-Addo at 57% if elections were held last August.
More bad news followed.
The results of another survey conducted by Bureau of National Investigations were also disclosed to participants. The BNI’s survey was conducted in the Volta, Central and Greater Accra Regions.
Results from this survey had the New Patriotic Party winning in the Central Region and the Greater Accra Region; regions the NDC won in 2008.
The NDC leadership thus came to the conclusion that since the “Better Ghana” agenda and the declaration of this year as “Action Year” had obviously not worked based on the results of the surveys conducted by the two bodies, a desperate course of action had to be taken.
It was therefore agreed that the only way forward for the party in their hope of winning the 2012 election was to attack Akufo-Addo, attack his personality and attack his family.
But Ben Ephson has denied the publication.
In an exclusive interview with Peacefmonline, the renowned pollster stridently denied the story saying "it is not true".