Unity Party No Longer Attracts Women Voters

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A pre-election poll has revealed that the ruling Unity Party (UP) is no longer the choice of the majority of the country’s women, in spite of the party producing the first elected female president on the African continent.

Results of a pre-election poll conducted in nine of the 15 counties revealed that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has not done enough to ensure that the UP becomes the home of females across the country. “After all, this is the institution that enabled women’s political relevance,” the poll quoted a female marketer.

The poll was conducted by Global Communications and Marketing Associates (GCOM), an international communications group involved in development, market research, and facilitating communication with international businesses and partners. Though based in the United Kingdom, the brand has offices in the US and India, among other countries.

GCOM conducted a pre-election poll among a total of 2,746 eligible voters in the nine counties on nine political parties. The questionnaires focused on issues such as: “If elections were held today, who would you vote for?” and “Which political party has the best organizational structure in your county?”

Nine political parties were included in the pool, four of whom GCOM referred to as “Establishment Parties”—these are parties that participated in the 2005 and 2011 elections. These parties are the Unity Party, Liberty Party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), and the National Patriotic Party (NPP).

Newly certificated parties that were part of the poll included, the Movement of Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) of Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, All Liberian Party (ALP) of businessman Benoni Urey, Alternative National Congress (ANC) of former Coca Cola executive, Alexander Cummings, Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction of Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, and the Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP) of former House Speaker Alex Tyler.

Out of the total of 1021 females interviewed on “If elections were held today …?” the majority snubbed the UP by rather showing their preference for the ALP (283-27.69 percent) and CDC (220-21.53 percent)

This news might just be a huge surprise for new UP standard bearer, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who reportedly has his heart set on the female constituency to help him get elected in an effort to complete what President Sirleaf started.

GCOM declared the ALP as the overall winner of its poll. Out of 2746 respondents, the ALP, CDC and UP finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively atop the poll with 633 (23.05 percent), 615 (22.40 percent) and 552 (20.10 percent). These were followed in 4th, 5th, and 6th by
MOVEE 329 (11.98 percent), MDR 242 (8.81 percent) and LP 203 (7.39 percent). At the bottom of the chat were LPDP and NPP, accumulating 43 votes each or 1.57 percent.

For the poll, the respondents were divided into three age groups—18-35, 36-50 and 51 and above.

There were 1691 respondents for the first group (18-35) where the young people show a preference for the CDC (455-24.84 percent) followed by the ALP with a total of 431 (23.54 percent) and UP 340 (18.56 percent).

Respondents from the second category (36-50) prefer a third UP term. Out of a total of 610, 169, which is 26.72 percent, voted the UP. This was followed by the ALP (145-23.77 percent) and the CDC (100-16.39 percent).

The UP scored high marks in the next group (51-above). Out of a total of 290 respondents, the ruling party accumulating 64 votes equating to 22.07 percent. ALP and the CDC followed with 61 (21.03 percent) and 38 (13.10 percent) respectively.

The nine counties where the surveys were conducted include Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Bong and Nimba counties, with a total of 12 pollsters conducting the random sampling exercise soliciting views from eligible voters among Liberians at institutions of higher learning, intellectual centers, and market places.

GCOM Executive Director Anthony Selmah told a press conference in Monrovia that the objective of the poll was to provide evidence based instruments on which political parties can begin to make decisions and to present a clearer picture of which one of the parties was making headway at this early stage of the election process.

Also GCOM was interested in knowing the dynamics of the emerging political developments using the outcomes of the 2005 and 2011 general and presidential elections as the baseline.

“In particular, we were interested in knowing whether or not the parties that performed well in the last two elections still maintain their popularity and formidable membership as we head to next year’s legislative and presidential elections,” he said.

Since the certification of new political parties, Liberians have witnessed massive turnouts of electorates at rallies and other political gatherings. “But past experiences have taught us that massive gatherings have not necessarily produced the anticipated, perhaps, victorious results,” Selmah said.

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