Candidates who promise to organise regular community meetings to address the concerns of constituents are mostly preferred, according to a research conducted by Dr George K. Ofosu, an Associate of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).
The study revealed that candidates who promise to sometimes or always help constituents in dealing with the government bureaucracy or finding state employment were more likely to be voted for, compared to those who would hardly do so.
The finding also noted that attending or financially supporting social events such as funerals, religious services, traditional festivals and naming ceremonies influenced vote choice; compared to those who promise to hardly attend social events.
Dr Ofosu disclosed the findings of the survey in his presentation at a round-table on how voters select their legislators.
The round-table was organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD – Ghana) on the theme: “How do voters select legislators? A choice experiment in Ghana.”
Initial results from a conjoint survey experiment on how efforts by politicians to provide constituency services affect citizens’ vote choice and whether such effects vary by different types of voters (by gender and partisanship) and by the level of electoral competition in Ghana, was presented by Dr Ofosu to set the pace for the round-table.
In a recent survey by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, many potential voters expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of their Members of Parliament (MPs).
In response, the MPs believed that citizens do not have an appreciation of the work they do behind the scenes and are unable to rate them fairly.
Dr Ofosu said that people were interested in development and preferred candidates who championed that course, to those who provided financial support to individuals.
He said the research, focusing on the provision of public infrastructure and private financial transfers showed that, in competitive electoral settings, the promise of public infrastructure was highly influential among a candidate’s copartisans and non-copartisans.
He said whereas, in non-competitive, non-segregated constituencies, which constitute the majority of constituencies in the country; citizens were mostly influenced by regular meetings with constituents to listen to their concerns and brief them on debates in parliament.
Conducted in November-December 2018, the study provides a systematic analysis of which of the different types of constituency service influence voter’s choice and whether the effects differ by partisanship and electoral setting.
The study used a forced-choice conjoint survey experiment, with a sample of 2000 citizens located in twelve nationally representative constituencies.