Ethnic undercurrent and macro-level determinants of voter participation in Ghana’s 2012 election: Implications for the 2020 national elections

  • Seidu Mahama Alidu
  • Gbensuglo Alidu Bukari
Keywords: Voter participation, ethnic voting, Ghanaian elections, macro-level analysis, socio-economic dynamics


In this paper we analyze the ethnic undercurrent and macro-level determinants influencing voter participation in Ghana based on aggregate district-level data. The paper focuses on the determinants that influenced citizens’ political participation in the 2012 Presidential elections of the Fourth Republic of Ghana and their implications for the December 2020 national elections. The unique approach of this paper is that district-level aggregate data on economic characteristics compiled by the Ghana Statistical Service are synchronised with district-level national presidential election results compiled by the Electoral Commission of Ghana to ascertain the determinants of participation. The analysis is based on the concept of the “Average District Voter” which is analyzed using district-level census data combined with national election results. Statistical analysis was used to complementarily assess the determinants of voter participation in the Ghanaian 2012 presidential elections. The results of the analysis thus established two major points; that ethnic identification with regard to the two major ethnic groups in Ghana (i.e., the Asantes and the Ewes) has clearly influenced voter turnout, and second, that worsening socio-economic conditions played a role in voter turnout in the 2012 presidential elections and these issues will ultimately determine the winner of the 2020 national elections.


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eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502