Here’s a breakdown of 2015 results at the peak of his popularity and when the dynamics favoured him. Even then he just barely eked out a victory. Under no illusions that he can’t win but Buhari is very vulnerable and Atiku is the strongest candidate the PDP could have put forward.
Additionally, rigging as seen in the Osun Bye-Election and vote buying in Ekiti is more difficult to implement on the national scale than in a one-off localized election.
Just looking at these figures one can chart a realistic path to victory for Atiku. The Middle Belt would swing back to PDP certainly and PDP would do better in the NE states of Adamawa and Gombe.
Bauchi and to a lesser extent Borno would still deliver for Buhari albeit with a lesser margin. Plateau won’t be as close as it was and Benue would return to PDP for apparent reasons. Nasarawa has been won by PDP back to back and they would retain it. The NW would be won by Buhari but Atiku won’t repeat Jonathan’s abysmal performance there and Buhari’s margin would be eroded there.
For all the talk of Tinubu’s invincibility, the APC only got 600k more votes than PDP in 2015. Atiku would get at least 50% here if he can effectively mobilize and reconcile the warring PDP factions here.
The SE is PDPs strongest base and they can be sure of 80% at least. The issue they have is to drive out turnout there as SE turned out poorly for Jonathan in 2015. A SE VP like Peter Obi would be a strong motivator to boost turnout.
The SS is the last region and a PDP stronghold. But APC has made some inroads and is well funded. PDP would win obviously but Buhari through well funded lieutenants like Akpabio, Amaechi, Oshiomole at al should secure 30% of SS votes.
That said PDP would still win and I believe the path is there for Atiku to eke put a victory.
2019 should be interesting.