Press Release

Sanwo-Olu Leads, but his lead is not unassailable because Undecided voters are huge at 53%

25 February 2019

Ahead of the coming 2019 governorship elections, a recent State-wide opinion poll commissioned by ANAP Foundation and conducted by NOI Polls Limited in the period leading up to early February 2019, has revealed that the Undecided voters and/or those who prefer not to reveal their preferred candidate add up to a whopping 53% of the electorate.

The Polls confirm a two-horse Governorship race between Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Babajide) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Mr Jimi Agbaje of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as all other contestants together scored an insignificant total.

The gender split of the Undecided between women and men is 61:46. The geographical split of the Undecided is a little uneven with Lagos Central (55% Undecided) and the Lagos West (54%) Zones at similar levels. Conversely, Lagos East Zone has 49% Undecided.

The size of the Undecided voters is unprecedented since we started polling in 2011. To put things in perspective, when Governor Raji Fashola was seeking a second term in 2011, the percentage of voters who said they were certain to vote for him was a staggering 65% (the highest figure ever attained in any of our polls) and so the Undecided Voters were insignificant and/or totally irrelevant in that year. 

The respondents to our 2019 detailed Lagos State Governorship poll tell us that top six (6) reasons for backing Sanwo-Olu are:- Continuity (50%), Popularity (9%), Just like him/Charisma(8%) Good Ideas (7%) and Good leadership skills (7%). Only 2% of Sanwo-Olu’s backers are doing so because they believe he has integrity.

Meanwhile, top 5 reasons for backing Agbaje are: - Change in Governance (70%), Better Candidate (21%), Just like him/Charisma (6%), Competence (2%) and Integrity (1%) 

Voter apathy is strongest in the Lagos Central zone where only 69% of the electorate say that they have given some consideration to the forthcoming elections, followed by Lagos East with 71%. In Lagos West, 79% say they have given some consideration to the forthcoming elections.

It is worth noting that all respondents interviewed in this poll are registered voters who had obtained their PVCs and that the voters’ sample mimicked the INEC register in terms of both zonal distribution and demography. The age groups that expressed the greatest willingness to vote are those between 46-60 and 60+ years.

Mr Jimi Agbaje has the best name recognition (96%) followed very closely by Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu (95%). All other candidates scored below 70% on name recognition.

From the results, when asked who respondents will be voting for in the coming 2019 Governorship elections, the figures put Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the lead (but with only 28% of the votes) over Mr Jimi Agbaje (with 17%). Interestingly, both candidates enjoy decent support across gender and age groups. Agbaje however has more support from the 36-45 age group when compared to other age-groups while Mr Sanwo-Olu has the most support from the 60+ group. 

Sanwo-Olu’s lead is sizeable but clearly not unassailable because the largest concentration of Undecided voters reside in the Lagos Central zone, where he is weakest. Voter turnout can also make a big difference on the day, especially if there is a huge turnout. A poor turnout favours Mr Sanwo-Olu. Anap Foundation has concluded that the final outcome is deemed to be too close to call because the Undecided Voters are just too many and, for now, it is impossible to tell if they will plonk for Continuity (Sanwo-Olu) or favour Change (Agbaje).

The margin of error is within the plus or minus 2.20% error margin at a 95% confidence margin. This means that if the survey was conducted 100 times using the exact same procedures, the margin of error would include the true value on 95 out of 100 surveys.

NOIPolls Limited is No.1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa. It conducts periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at 

Anap Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation committed to promoting good governance. Anap Foundation has been carrying out a series of Elections polls since 2011 with the main objective of providing information on opinion research during election periods. ANAP Foundation conducted similar polls for the 2011, 2015 and 2019 Presidential elections and the Lagos State Governorship elections in 2011 & 2015, and for the 2014 State Governorship elections in Ekiti State and also for the Kaduna, Lagos and Rivers State Governorship elections in 2015. More information on ANAP Foundation is available at along with all past Press Releases announcing the results of all these opinion polls. 2019 Governorship Polls for Kano, Rivers and Sokoto States will be released shortly on the same website.