Presentation on theme: "THE IMPACT OF CANDIDATE DEBATES IN SIERRA LEONE. SIERRA LEONE IN RUN-UP TO 2012 (FROM PREVIOUS WORK DONE BY IPA RESEARCHERS ) Voter Turnout High and Ethnic-Political."— Presentation transcript:
SIERRA LEONE IN RUN-UP TO 2012 (FROM PREVIOUS WORK DONE BY IPA RESEARCHERS ) Voter Turnout High and Ethnic-Political Party Ties Strong - 2007/8 Elections National 76% voted 86% voted for party affiliated with tribe Local 39% voted 75% voted for party affiliated with tribe Voters know more about Local Councilors than MPs If dont know candidates, may vote on traditional lines Parties may have less incentive to find the best candidates when voters dont have good information - may instead rely on ethnic loyalties to deliver the vote
EXIT POLL IN CONTROL VILLAGES Election Day (Nov 2012) exit polls in control villages reveal that: Only 28% of voters could name the two Parliamentary candidates 64% couldnt name a single MP job responsibility 3% knew the amount of the MPs constituency facilitation fund 35% knew the proposed quota for womens representation in government and 17% knew the candidates positions on the bill 70% of voters have zero years of schooling, 31% have no radio Research question: can giving voters information about candidates and policy facilitate more informed voting and greater accountability?
OVERALL DEVELOPMENT GOAL Improve service delivery and reduce poverty In previous elections – citizens do not have enough information to hold officials to account – thus difficult to improve governance Is better information the answer? What information matters? Will it change voters choices and in the end improve service delivery?
KEY STUDY QUESTIONS Can hosting structured debates between candidates provide Voters with information on the performance and capabilities of Both incumbents and challengers, thereby making voting more Sensitive to leader quality, relaxing reliance on ethnic-party ties, And increasing the contestability of seats? Which components of information revealed in debates (e.g. concrete information on policy preference and competence, less tangible indicators of candidate quality like oratory skills and persuasion power, and purely superficial attributes like age and attractiveness) are most influential in changing voter behavior?
OUR THREE-PRONGED APPROACH Parties encouraging them to nominate better qualified candidates Scorecards to each MP based on surveys with constituents ## distributed Voters information on candidate policies, personal characteristics and qualifications Debates between candidates in 14 constituencies # screenings and estimated attendees Candidates encouraging them to invest more time and money in their constituencies
TREATMENT CONSTITUENCIES DistrictConstituency Western Rural93 Port Loko56 Kambia37 Bombali32 Tonkolili63 Koinadugu43 Koinadugu46 Koinadugu47 Moyamba84 Moyamba85 Bp70 Kenema15 Kenema14 Kono22
CONTROL CONSTITUENCIES DistrictConstituency Koinadugu44 Koinadugu45 Koinadugu48 Kambia38 Kambia41 Kambia42 Port Loko54 Kailahun3 4 Kenema17 Moyamba81 Moyamba86 Western Rural92 Western Rural94
TIMELINE OF PROJECT PilotJanuary – February 2012 Filming DebatesOctober 2012 ScreeningOctober – November 2012 Exit PollNovember 2012
NEEDED LOTS OF DATA To answer all these questions we needed lots of data! Before and After Debate Survey knowledge of politics and candidates, policy stances, voting intentions Exit Poll Survey same people, policy questions, who they voted for and why
OUR DATA Representative survey – randomly selected households/individuals Before and After Debate Survey 5000 surveys in 10 districts Exit Poll Survey Over 8,000 surveys in 10 districts Collected 98% target data
DEBATE SCREENING Debates hosted in 14 of the 28 most closely contested constituencies Road show of debate screenings in 112 of 224 polling centers plus 85 additional screenings in satellite villages Approximately 19,000 individuals saw a debate
SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES Rivers… Lakes… Bridges… Terrible roads…
GOING FORWARD… Create a platform for discussion between relevant government and civil society actors exploring possible ways to build on the results of the research. Explore how debates can support voter education initiatives? How can the successful candidates be held accountable for the promises they made during the election? How can we ensure that all voters are better informed about candidate quality at the next election?