An Overview of Public Opinion in Ghana 1997
THE CONTEXT OF THE SURVEY
The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), in cooperation with the Electoral Commission of Ghana, conducted a national survey of Ghanaian public opinion from February 26-April 16, 1997. The survey measured Ghanaians' attitudes about the December 1996 elections, politics, and the economy. The survey's interviews were conducted by Research International (RI) Ghana. The Electoral Commission worked with RI and IFES in preparing the interviewers to carry out the fieldwork. This report presents the initial results of the survey. A complete analysis of the data will be released later in 1997.
This survey was undertaken for the following reasons;
1. While the success of the December 7, 1996 presidential and parliamentary elections was clear, it was important to the Electoral Commission to learn the public's attitude toward the electoral process outside the heated atmosphere of the election campaign. The information contained in the survey data will inform the Electoral Commission on how it can improve the administration of elections in Ghana.
2. IFES was in a unique position to conduct such a survey. Over the past few years, IFES has conducted a number of national attitudinal surveys on the democratic process in new and restored democracies.
3. It is important that periodic measurements of the public's attitudes toward issues be taken not only on election day, but between elections as well. The most effective means of doing this is through attitudinal surveys.
Obviously, this is not the first survey that has been conducted in Ghana nor will it be the last. The results of this survey should not be viewed as the definitive measure of attitudes of the Ghanaian people. Opinions change over time. In politics, a few short weeks can be a lifetime. The results of this survey should be examined in conjunction with past and future survey data.
Finally, this overview was made possible through support provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Cooperative Agreement 641- o I 33-A-OO-4028-00. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or IFES.
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