Ghana’s Swing Voters

Results from a Panel Study Following Voters through the 2016 Campaign

Kevin S. Fridy, Mary R. Anderson, Victor Brobbey and William M. Myers


Ghana is a country where presidential election results are not a foregone conclusion and parties can count on very few safe seats in the legislature. This lack of electoral predictability suggests that a significant block of Ghanaian voters are persuadable. But how are these persuadable voters different from their unpersuadable counterparts? We comb through the swing voter literature for potential answers to this question and weigh these answers using evidence from an innovative panel study that followed Ghanaian voters in the Nabdam constituency through the 2016 campaign. Our findings generally do not support most of the well-trodden predictive theories of swing voters, but one finding does stand out: would-be voters who identify themselves as supporters of the minority party are far more likely to swing than supporters of the majority party. This finding suggests political parties may want to focus more of their efforts on persuading these anomalous voters even in areas considered strongholds.

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