“But if the president has been unable to recreate the atmosphere that brought him to power in 2016 to set the tone for an easy victory, the challenger has failed to take full advantage of the president’s over-confidence to sell his message.”
This election was always going to be neck and neck, in spite of the predictions of the propagandists and experts who sought to suggest that it was a done deal for the president.
The wave of optimism and loud demand for change which characterized Nana’s victory four years ago seems to have disappeared this time. Of course, a few, vociferous, party loyalists are doing their best to recreate a semblance of the charged atmosphere that saw the president infiltrate opposition strongholds in 2016 and rendered the NDC its most humiliating defeat in recent history. Unfortunately, there seems to be no real, massive charge and formidable momentum for the president. The atmosphere is less absorbing and less euphoric compared to the unprecedented campaign success of 2016.
Is this a negligible fear, or a star in the sky? But if the president has been unable to recreate the atmosphere that brought him to power in 2016 to set the tone for an easy victory, the challenger has failed to take full advantage of the president’s over-confidence to sell his message. President Mahama has been on the attack, smacking everything smackable, starting lone fires here and there without really fanning them into flame in a manner that would carry the people along.
The NDC has come to the table with some jaw-dropping manifesto promises, but for some reason, the party has been unable to create mass demand and mobilization around its campaign message in the manner the NPP did with the free SHS sloganeering in 2016. The communication experts of the NDC have failed to create a sea of mass demand for their message, to the extent that even students who should be rejoicing over the party’s half school fees policy proposal (I am told it has been reviewed to no fees at all) seem at best, nonchalant.
From the foregoing, it is clear that both parties cancel themselves out in messaging appeal and communication, more to the disadvantage of the NDC, who seemed to have learned their lessons from the previous election and are now playing catch up.
Again, both parties will cancel themselves out with regard to their support base, if turnout is high. Where they part company would be in the percentage of new student votes and floating votes they harvest. There is a general view that new SHS voters prefer the NPP to the NDC as a result of the free SHS policy. Though unproven, it makes sense that students would feel indebted to the NPP for providing them with free SHS education and would want to show their appreciation to the government with their votes. Few of such students consider free education as a right and not a partisan bonus.
But yet again, this could be counter balanced by floating voters and civil society, particularly the latter who have been unsparing of government’s lackluster, flip-flop, wishy-washy, baby-sitting attitude towards fighting corruption.
However, COVID 19 may have the last laugh though! Many people, particularly elderly Ghanaians did not register to vote for fear of contracting the disease. Indeed, it is unclear how many people may not show up to vote for fear of COVID 19.This could work against both parties. But whosoever is able to get their supporters to the polling stations could have the last laugh.
Consequently, here is my verdict. Ignore the polls. The contest will be closer and keener, tighter and nail biting that afore thought! A second round could be risky business for the president.