Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and his Citizens’ Alliance for Change (CCC) party are winning next month’s elections in Zimbabwe by a margin of between 8% and 9% – if the elections are free and fair – a new opinion poll suggests.
The poll of 2,000 registered voters, conducted by Elite Africa Research in June, showed that if elections were held at that time, 47.6% of respondents would vote for Chamisa in the presidential poll, while 38.7% would vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Similarly, the poll found that 47.7% of respondents would vote for Chamisa’s CCC while 39.6% would vote for ruling Mnangagwa party Zanu-PF in the parliamentary elections.
Presidential, parliamentary and local elections are scheduled for August 23.
Even if these poll results indicate that Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF will lose out on a fair competition, they still satisfy the ruling party and the president.
The survey also found, by much wider margins, that Zimbabweans believe their country is heading in the wrong direction and that the economy is getting worse.
A large majority of 69.4% said they believed the country was heading in the wrong direction, while only 27.3% felt it was heading in the right direction. Their views on the economy mattered most, with more than three-quarters – 77.5% – saying they thought the economy was getting worse while less than a fifth – 19.6% – felt it was getting better.
59.8% of the 2,000 citizens polled said they hoped to form a new government after the elections, while only 37% said they hoped to form one.
It also revealed the answers to the question whether respondents felt very supportive, somewhat supportive, somewhat unfavorable, or strongly unfavorable to the list of political leaders and parties.
Chamisa emerged with a net positive result of 29.6%, while Mnangagwa had a net negative result of 2.6%.
Similarly, CCC recorded a net positive result of 28.6% while Zanu-PF recorded a net negative result of 2.7%. Net scores were obtained by subtracting the unfavorable responses from the positive responses for each leader or party.
Taken together, these results indicate a high level of discontent among Zimbabweans towards Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF, but also some hesitation, and possibly concern, about replacing them with Chamisa and CCC.
This was confirmed by Oscar Mutenda, founder and CEO of Elite Africa Research, which conducted the survey. He said that in conversations with people during the survey, it emerged that many felt that even if the current government is doing a bad job, they are not confident that the opposition can do better.
The poll results, if repeated on August 23, would mean Zimbabweans will have to go to the polls again soon after, as no presidential candidate will win more than 50% of the vote in the first round. In this case, a second round of voting must take place between the two largest candidates to ensure that the winner receives more than 50% of the vote.
Mutinda explained that a sample of 2,000 was chosen to replicate national demographics such as the proportions of voters in urban and rural areas as well as the proportions of voters in the country’s provinces. DM