Peopleâ€™s active participation in elections is one of the key measures of electoral democracy. The peopleâ€™s lack of interests or apathy in elections tends to undervalue the democratic process, engender mistrust in political institutions, and enthrone unaccountable leadership. This is why voter turnout is a crucial aspect of electoral studies. Even though Nigeria has successfully undergone two decades of uninterrupted democracy, she may not be too fast in imbibing the tenets of electoral democracy which presupposes active peopleâ€™s participation in the electoral process. This is because there has been a conspicuous decline in voter turnouts in presidential elections since 2003. There are several factors responsible for this decline. This paper analysed three key variables â€“ violence, socioeconomic factors, and candidateâ€™s popularity - with the use of Multivariate Correlation Analysis (a statistical procedure that calculates correlation coefficients of two or more variables to determine the strengths of their relationships). The study, therefore, finds that of the three variables, candidateâ€™s popularity as indicated by votersâ€™ preferences for candidateâ€™s/running mateâ€™s tribe, political party, and trust in candidateâ€™s abilities provide stronger evidence of the declining turnouts in Nigerian presidential elections.
Keywords: Voter turnouts, legitimacy, Nigerian presidential election, candidatesâ€™ popularity, violence, socioeconomic factors.