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IRI Releases National Public Opinion Poll on Upcoming Elections in Nigeria

February 1, 2011

Abuja, Nigeria – IRI today released its public opinion survey today on Nigerians’ expectations in the run-up to the country’s upcoming April elections.  The survey, conducted November 29-December 7, 2010, will help inform Nigerian media, election officials, candidates and political parties about current public perception as it relates to key issues, voter education, and prospects for peaceful and credible elections.

IRI’s poll suggests that Nigerians are optimistic about their prospects for peaceful and credible elections in 2011.  Seventy-seven percent of those interviewed agree that the elections will be mostly free, fair and credible, and 74 percent believe that they will be more credible than the 2007 elections. 

Voter interest also appears to run high, with 89 percent of those polled indicating that they would definitely or probably vote in the upcoming presidential election.  A similar majority also indicated their intention to vote in the national assembly and state and local elections.  The optimism is accompanied by high expectations: 77 percent expect their personal and/or family economic situation will improve after the elections.  The top two national issues cited by the potential voters include corruption (16 percent) and unemployment (15 percent) while lack of electricity (21 percent) was identified as the number one issue of local concern.

On April 2, Nigerians will head to the polls to elect members of the national assembly.  The presidential election will be held one week later, on April 9, followed by state and local elections on April 16.  To gauge public opinion, IRI commissioned international polling firm Opinion Research Business to conduct the poll in partnership with local Nigerian firm, Practical Sampling International.  A total of 3,030 face-to-face interviews of men and women of voting age were collected.  The margin of error for the national sample is less than +/- 1.7 percent. 

This is the first national opinion poll that IRI has conducted in Nigeria.  IRI has been working for more than a decade to improve democratic processes, engaging political parties, civil society, media and key sectors such as women, youth and the disabled to enhance their ability to participate in the electoral process.  IRI has observed every election since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 and will be leading an international delegation of experts to observe the upcoming April elections.