Scheduled to take place on the 10th of October 2020, the Ondo State Governorship election is one of a handful of out-of-cycle elections the Independent National Electoral Commission will be conducting outside the 2019 General Election window. Coming on the heels of the competitive but largely peaceful Edo Governorship Election, the Ondo election is slightly more complex as this time we have three main candidates, rather than the two major contestants that slugged it out in Edo State.
An Eagle Badger Consulting telephone survey of Likely Voters across the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo State has revealed that incumbent Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of the APC is – by the slimmest of margins - polling slightly behind Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) of the PDP 36% to 37%. The current Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi of the ZLP trails behind both of them, with only 22% of respondents indicating that they would vote for Mr. Ajayi. 5% of respondents stated they were undecided as at the time of the survey.
The Ondo State Survey of Likely Voters was conducted September 29th-30th, 2020. The margin of error is +/- 7% with a confidence level of 95%. The randomly selected sample population was made up of 122 males and 58 females. 90% of the respondents voted in the 2016 Ondo State Governorship elections.
Who won what, and where?
An examination of the LGAs won by the candidates revealed a surprising fact: excluding two LGAs where the potential votes where split equally between the APC and PDP (Idanre) and between the PDP and ZLP (Irele), Dep. Gov. Ajayi won the most LGAs (6) while Gov. Akeredolu and Mr. Jegede won 5 LGAs each.
Unfortunately, Mr. Ajay was unable to secure significant interest from potential voters outside the LGAs he won. Conversely, both Gov. Akeredolu and Mr. Jegede not only managed to win their LGAs, but were able to win significant support in the LGAs they lost to their rivals.
All candidates enjoyed home court advantage as Gov. Akeredolu won in his LGA of Owo, Mr. Jegede won in his home LGA of Akure South, and Dep. Gov. Ajayi won in Ese Odo LGA. For Mr. Jegede, his LGA victory is especially important as Akure South has the highest number of registered voters and PVCs collected.
Ondo State has 1,822,346 registered voters. 1,478,460 of them have collected their PVCs from INEC.
The demographic profile of the respondents was heavily tilted towards male voters (68% male to 32% female). This male-heavy trend was reflected across the supporters of the three candidates with respondents favourable to Gov. Akeredolu straddling a 65:35 male:female ratio. Respondents who indicated they would vote for Dep. Gov. Agboola’s mirrored this ratio with a 62% to 38% male-female split. Mr. Jegede’s male supporters were significantly higher (74%).
With just over a week to the elections, most voters are expected to have made up their minds by now on who they will be voting for. This was reflected in the low number of respondents (5%) who were still undecided. The low number of undecideds, and the slim margin of victory being predicted by this survey suggest that every vote is crucial, and that campaigns would be advised to amplify their GOTV messaging.
The two top campaign issues identified by the respondents who said they would be voting for Gov. Akeredolu were Infrastructural development and Continuity.
Respondents who said they would be voting for Mr. Jegede said their votes were won because he promised the reduction of school fees and the creation of jobs.
Finally, the two main priorities for Dep. Gov. Ajayi’s supporters were the reduction of school fees and access to affordable healthcare.
With a margin of error of +-7% and a small but important pool of undecided voters, even though Mr. Jegede currently enjoys a one-point lead, the Ondo State Governorship election is too close to call. The only prediction we can confidently make is that Dep. Gov. Ajayi, with only 22% of projected votes, will not win the election. His only path to electoral victory at this point would be an alliance with either the APC or PDP candidate.
© 2019. Eagle-Badger Consulting