By Omar Bah
A recent pre-election opinion poll conducted by the Center for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies, CepRass, which suggested that the National People’s Party is likely to win the December presidential election, has met with swift rebuttal by the United Democratic Party and the Gambia Democratic Congress.
According to the survey, even though there is still a large pool of undecided voters (40%), the majority of the 60% decided voters said NPP is likely to win followed by UDP, APRC, and GDC.
However, reacting to the survey, the United Democratic Party spokesperson, Almamy Taal, said: “It does not reflect the realities on the ground. In addition, the data parameter seems to be narrow and does not mirror the data set of the electorate of which 57% are women. The opinion poll only reports half of that; so in my view, this is a significant issue.
“All scientific polls have a margin of error of 3-5%. So we are not bothered at all based on the historical data. The UDP has a majority in all elections after 2016.”
Meanwhile, another opposition party the Gambia Democratic Congress, has also reacted. The survey revealed only 3% of the respondents believe the GDC can win the election. But the party’s deputy leader, Ahmadou Kah said the survey is ‘unrealistic’ and doesn’t reflect the realities on the ground in all genuine aspects.
“That is why many of us have questioned its credibility and the method they used to reach this conclusion. We challenge them to provide to the general public the methodology that was used because the numbers don’t just add up,” Kah told The Standard.
He said the Gambia’s political atmosphere is unique and that has to be put into consideration.
“As I am talking to you, nobody can predict where party X has more support in the different parts of the country. We are worried about the fact that some of these research institutions could be sponsored to favour a particular party. We were expecting something like this and there could be more before the election. We are not the least convinced and the GDC is not bothered,” he said.
However, the National People’s Party has welcomed the CepRass survey and commended the respondents.
“The survey is a testimony to the democracy we continue to nurture and enjoy under the president’s leadership; a society where all citizens participate in the conduct of the affairs of the state without any hindrance,” NPP deputy spokesperson Seedy Njie said.
He added: “While taking solace in this significant development, the NPP will continue to promote a greater culture of tolerance, openness and respect for fundamental rights. President Adama Barrow continues to enjoy support from Gambians as a result of his unwavering efforts in transforming the country. As a party, we are encouraged to live by our ardent desire of fulfilling our shared goals and policies of delivering services to improve the lives and livelihoods of our people.
“There should be no illusions that the party will seriously examine the entire report to see how to improve its rating in future polls. The secretary general and party leader of NPP-led grand coalition re-assures Gambians of our relentless commitment to continue serving them on the path of good governance, democracy, rule of law, a just and free society necessary in a democratic space post 2021.”