Abuja, Nigeria – IRI released its latest public opinion survey that gauges Nigerians’ perceptions of the 2011 general elections and overall mood of the country with regard its democratic progress.  The survey, conducted October 20 – November 3, 2011, will help inform elected officials, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian media, political parties and IRI about current public perception as it relates to key socio-political issues and prospects for improvement in the credibility of elections and overall performance of government.

However, overall perception of the 2011 national assembly, presidential and gubernatorial elections is very positive with 80 percent saying that the elections were credible and transparent.  Most Nigerians agree that the country was well prepared for the elections and confidence in INEC has improved significantly since IRI’s pre-election poll conducted from November 29 – December 12, 2010.  Since the elections, an increased majority believe that democracy exists or somewhat exists in Nigeria.

Voter interest also appears to run high, with 95 percent of those polled indicating that they would definitely or probably vote in the next election.  The positive perception of elections can be correlated to Nigerians’ confidence that their vote in the general elections was fairly counted, kept secret and properly collated and that corruption has been reduced within INEC. 

IRI’s poll suggests that most Nigerians believe the country is moving in the wrong direction.  The economy and lack of jobs are key concerns for the future but political issues including poor governance and the disintegration of Nigeria are also major concerns. 

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 3,078 face-to-face interviews of men and women of voting age were collected.  The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 1.8 percent. 

This is the second national opinion poll that IRI has conducted in Nigeria.  IRI has been working in Nigeria 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 is currently fielding Nigerian youth observation teams for Nigeria’s staggered gubernatorial elections.

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