By Lamin Cham
Opinion poll results have predicted victory for opposition UDP candidates in Saturday’s mayoral and chairmanship local government area elections in Banjul, Kanifing, Brikama and Mansa Konko with the governing National People’s Party sweeping Basse, Janjangbureh, Kerewan and Kuntaur.
Announcing the outcome of the polls, Lamin Dampha, head of the pollsters, CepRrass, told the press over the weekend that the survey was conducted recently.
He said in Banjul, 26% of those polled said the incumbent UDP candidate, Rohey Lowe, is likely to win with 14% opting for the NPP’s Ebou Faye.
About 61% of the potential electorate said they “can’t tell”, indicating uncertainty and indecision among respondents in the capital.
In Kanifing municipality, UDP’s Talib Bensouda is in the lead with 55% of respondents saying he is likely to win with 19% for NPP’s candidate, Minister Bakary Badjie. However, 24% are undecided.
In West Coast Region, UDP’s Yankuba Darboe leads with 23%, while NPP’s Seedy Ceesay has 22% support. According to the pollsters, independent candidates and other parties add unpredictability to the race and 42% of respondents said they cannot tell who the likely winner will be and therefore, no meaningful conclusion can be made for Brikama because the percentage of “cannot tell” is substantial.
In Lower River Region, UDP candidate, Landing Sanneh, holds a 39% support with 35% of respondents saying they are unable to determine the likely winner. The NPP candidate, Kebba Dem, has 25% support on the likely to win.
In the North Bank Region, the NPP candidate, Papa Tunkara, leads with 37% of likely to win with 35% of respondents saying they are unable to determine the likely winner. The UDP candidate, Malamin Bojang, is perceived as the likely candidate to win by 22% of respondents while GDC’s Abdoulie Jallow, and independent Babou Kebbeh, have secured smaller percentages.
In Janjangbureh, the NPP candidate, Sulayman Sawaneh, is likely to win with 62% support with 35% for the UDP candidate, Malick Sowe. Smaller parties and independent candidates add diversity to the race.
In Kuntaur, NPP’s Saihou Jawara is regarded as the likely candidate to win by 35% of respondents. The UDP candidate, Alhagie Sillah, follows with 22% of respondents reporting that he is likely to win the seat in this LGA. About 42% of respondents cannot tell who the likely winner in this LGA will be.
In the Upper River Region, NPP’s Mahammad Ceesay leads with 63% on the likely to win with the UDP’s Foday Danjo at a dismal 16%. Nineteen percent of respondents cannot predict who is likely to win. PDOIS candidate Alhaji Karamo Touray got a paltry 1.7% backing.
Mr Dampha further revealed that the survey reflected the diverse ethnic composition of the respondents, with Mandinka as the largest ethnic group consisting of 35% of respondents, followed by Fula at 29% and Wolof at 15%.
“The distribution of respondents across different LGAs varied, with Brikama having the highest representation at 22% while 78% is composed of respondents from the other LGAs. All respondents reported having a voter’s card, indicating eligibility to participate in the upcoming elections. A high percentage (98%) expressed an intention to vote, with 39% being first-time voters. More than half of the respondents (57%) were almost certain to vote, highlighting strong civic engagement,” Dampha said.
He further outlined that 39% of those polled were female and 61% male. He disclosed that the largest age group was 35-44, accounting for 30% of respondents, followed by the 25-34 age group at 20% with the majority of the respondents (48%) having informal or no formal education.
The survey also covered issues surrounding local government matters such as the ongoing commission of enquiry, vote buying and the treatment of candidates by the IEC.