CPD OPINION POLL RESULTS, 7th September 2011

Press Release Background The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit policy research organization, conducted a public opinion poll of a national representative sample of 1,500 registered Zambian voters. The poll was conducted from 16th to 30th August 2011 covering all the nine provinces of the country, 27 districts, 61 constituencies and 137 wards. This is the second public opinion poll conducted by CPD in the last five months. The last poll was conducted in April this year. It was found necessary to conduct a second poll to ascertain voter preferences ahead of the 2011 elections after the Election Date was announced and the election campaigns were underway. This poll has been conducted by CPD in the public interest. It has not been sponsored by any individual or organization, either local or foreign. We take note of the fact that several organizations have carried out and report opinion poll results on the voting intentions of the Zambian electorate. We have no relationship with any of the organizations that have conducted opinion polls in recent months. Neither do we feel any pressure to conduct an opinion poll simply because other organizations have done so. Our aim has been to carry out our plan to conduct two poll: one before the election date was conducted and the other after the election date was known. Indeed, it is on public record that in our April poll reported in May 2011 we reported that the largest opposition party, Patriotic Front (PF), had an edge over the ruling party party (MMD). Specifically, we reported that: if elections for parliament took place at that time (April), the PF would be elected with 30% of the votes, followed by MMD with 27%, UPND 10%, others 3% and 31% were undecided. On the other hand, if elections for the President took place at that time Michael Sata of the PF would have obtained 31%, Rupiah Banda of MMD 29%, Hakainde Hichilema of UPND 12%, 1% others and 27% were undecided. These findings were trivialized, if not totally ignored in some sections of the media. Others tried to discredit them as not reflecting ‘the situation on the ground.’ If anything, the main finding of our April poll was that a large number of the electorate (close to a third) was undecided and as such the poll results were inconclusive. Aims and Objectives We are very aware those opinion polls generate a lot of emotion and negative reporting, especially when we come close to the elections. Individuals and organizations that are not favoured in the polls have tended to denigrate those publishing opinion poll results and discrediting the findings. We will not be discouraged from doing our because of the fear to be criticized, we believe that is part of democracy, as individuals try to do damage control and appeal to the sensibilities of the voters.

1

The main aim of this poll was not to promote the interest of any political organization in this country nor a particular candidate, but rather to help gauge the public mood two weeks before Zambia goes to the polls. The specific objectives of this opinion poll were: (a) To ascertain issues of concern to the Zambian electorate ahead of this year’s general election; (b) To ascertain public opinion on satisfaction with performance of the economy and their own living standards; (c) To ascertain public opinion on government performance, including the performance of President Rupiah Banda; (d) To solicit views of voting intentions ahead of the elections; (e) To understand the nature of the electorate at this point in time; (f) To promote public debate around the issues of concern to the electorate; (g) To assist political parties and candidates to take account of public opinion in their elections campaigns and strategizing; and (h) To assist the general public to make much more informed electoral choice that will add value to Zambia’s democratic dispensation. In reporting the results of this public opinion poll, CPD means well and does not in any way wish to disadvantage any political party nor candidate. The results we report on today were not predetermined but are the opinions of the 1,500 randomly selected individuals for this survey. We are confident that the opinions we report on are representative of Zambia’s public opinion at this point in time. In order to give context to these results, we will discuss and analyse them based on our current research of Zambian political dynamics conducted over the last seven months. Sample The sampling methodology involved a multistage, purposive and random sampling of districts and households. Respondents were selected purely at random and were interviewed in face-toface interviews. The sample of 1,500 was drawn from the universe of registered Zambian voters giving a margin of error of +/-2 percent at 95 percent confidence level. The sample size was drawn proportionate to the number of registered voters in the country based on the Electoral Commission of Zambia final register of voters 2011.
2

Distribution of interviews Province Central Copperbelt Eastern Luapula Lusaka Northern North-Western Southern Western Total National Area Rural Urban Total

Number of interviews 135 240 195 120 225 195 90 180 120 1,500

% 9 16 13 8 15 13 6 12 8 100

870 630 1,500

58 42 100

This area distribution approximates the national demographic situation as recently reported in the provisional report of the National Census of Population and Housing by the Central Statistical Office (CSO). Gender Distribution Male Female Total No. of interviews 735 765 1,500 % 49 51 100

The gender distribution represents the national demographic situation. Age Years 18 – 24 25 - 35 36 - 55 56 years and above Could not determine age Total

No. of interviews 695 398 218 156 33 1,500

% 46 27 15 10 2 100

The majority (73%) of our respondents were young in the age groups 18 to 35. The oldest respondent was 93 years old.
3

Education Level of education No formal education Primary education Junior secondary education Secondary education College University Total

No. of interviews 120 315 375 450 212 28 1,500

% 8 21 25 30 14 2 100

More than half (46%) of the Zambian population are of low literacy, i.e. they have either primary or junior secondary education. However, illiteracy is extremely low at 8%. Assessment of economic conditions The majority of respondents (49%) were of the view that the economic situation in Zambia had got better or much better in the last 3 years. However, majority (54%) of them said the economic conditions of their family had got worse in the past 3 years. However, 62% of respondents were optimistic that the economic situation in Zambia will get better in the next 12 months. Government performance Majority of Zambians (61%) consider overall government performance to be good or very good. Asked about the overall performance of President Rupiah Banda so far, 62% of respondents indicated that it was either good or very good. Regarding the performance of the MMD government so far, 60% of respondents indicated that it was either good or very good. Views over the Barotseland Agreement The majority (58%) of respondents said they have not heard of the Barotseland agreement of 1964. Of those who said they have heard about it, the majority (61%) disapproved the demands by those agitating for the restoration the Barotseland Agreement. However, 63% of all those who answered the question disapproved government’s handling of the demands for the restoration of Barotseland Agreement. Elections Close to 84% of the respondents indicated that they were likely to vote if elections were called in the next few weeks. 61% of respondents believe that the forthcoming elections will be free and fair. Of the 27% who felt that elections would not be free and fair, there were mixed views. Respondents cited possible manipulation and rigging by the MMD and government officials, including President Rupiah Banda. Others cited possible violence by PF and Michael Sata. Clearly, PF supporters
4

expressed the view that the election results may be manipulated, if not rigged by the ECZ, government and the MMD. On the other hand, MMD supporters felt that the PF and its officials may cause violence. 44% of the respondents did not vote in the 2008 elections. This means that potentially, there will be approximately 2,273,556 million new voters in the forthcoming elections. Asked whether President Rupiah Banda has done his job well enough to deserve re-election, 51% of the respondents agreed, while 49% disapproved his performance and felt he did not deserve re-election. Asked about which party they would vote for Member of Parliament if elections took place today, 41% of respondents indicated that they would vote for the MMD, 36% for PF, 12% for the UPND, 2% for other parties and 8% were undecided. Which party would you vote for Parliament, if elections were to be held today? Party % MMD 41 PF 36 UPND 12 Others 2 Undecided 8 Total 100 The MMD has electoral support in four of Zambian provinces, Central (60%), Eastern (64%), North-Western (49%) and Western (41%). PF would obtain majority of votes in its traditional strongholds of Copperbelt (58%), Luapula (53%), Lusaka (49%) and Northern (49%) provinces. While UPND would have the largest number of votes in Southern province (48%) Electoral preferences by province Province MMD Central 60 Copperbelt 32 Eastern 64 Luapula 34 Lusaka 36 Northern 37 North-Western 49 Southern 31 Western 38 National total 41

PF 30 58 22 53 49 49 19 10 15 36

UPND 7 5 7 4 6 3 17 48 24 12

Others 1 0 2 0 1 3 8 3 10 12

Undecided 2 5 5 9 8 7 8 8 13 8

5

Whom would you vote for President is elections took place today? Presidential candidate Rupiah Banda Michael Sata Hakainde Hichilema Others Undecided Total Electoral support for presidential candidates by province (%) Province Rupiah Michael Hakainde Others Banda Sata Hichilema Central 53 33 12 1 Copperbelt 25 43 5 0 Eastern 51 28 5 3 Luapula 34 51 5 0 Lusaka 35 43 6 1 Northern 41 50 5 2 North-Western 50 22 12 6 Southern 31 18 46 2 Western 41 20 18 8 National total 41 38 13 2

% 41 38 13 2 6 100

Undecided 1 27 13 10 15 2 10 3 13 6

Conclusions It is observable that the MMD has consolidated its strongholds of Eastern, Central, NorthWestern and Western Provinces. PF and UPND appear to have lost considerable ground in their own strongholds. In particular, PF has lost ground in Lusaka where the MMD is only 8% behind. It has also lost some ground on the Copperbelt and in Northern provinces However, it can also be observed that the PF and in particular Michael Sata has displaced the UPND as second most popular political party in Central, Western and North-Western Provinces. The PF, especially Michael Sata, has made significant inroads in Central, North-Western, Southern and Western Provinces. The MMD and has also made some important gains in Luapula, Lusaka and Southern Provinces. The only place where the MMD has lost ground is in Western Province where it does not hold a convincing lead over the opposition. Our conclusion is that the MMD appears to be in a favourable position to win the forthcoming election for three reasons. First, the divisions in the main opposition, UPND and PF, will split the vote in favour of the ruling MMD. The failure by the opposition to unite behind one opposition candidate ahead of the elections will seriously affect the opposition’s chances of defeating the
6

MMD. Second, there is no serious euphoria for change of government, as was the case in 2006 and 2008. While the number of people in support of change of government and that in favour of continuation of the status quo is almost even, those in favour of continuation of the MMD government appears to have a slight edge. The reasons for this include, fear that change of government will disrupt current economic gains; uncertainty about economic and social policies of the opposition parties and incessant negative propaganda waged against PF presidential candidate, Michael Sata, and the Patriotic Front by the public media and sections of civil society in the last few months. Third, the break-up of the PF-UPND pact has had a considerable impact in diminishing the opposition’s electoral chances. Up until the break-up of the Pact in March this year, there was great likelihood of an opposition victory. The PF appeared poised to win power, more because of an anticipated block vote from the Southern Province. However, the break-up of the UPND-PF pact has meant that Southern province electorate has its withdrawn support for PF and now has to choose between UPND and MMD. It is against this background that the MMD appears to have gained the sympathy of Southern voters, thus explaining the collapse of the UPND and Hichilema’s vote in the province. Lastly, it can be observed that the opposition campaign seems disorganized and lacking imagination, which has not inspired much confidence in the electorate in terms of the opposition’s preparedness to govern. A survey of provinces conducted other the last three weeks reveal the absence of opposition posters and campaign materials. The opposition was conspicuously absent in a number of areas, especially rural hinterlands. Clearly, the MMD presence across the country is overwhelming as if it is the only political party participating in this election. There is no doubt that advantages of incumbency will play an important role in persuading voters to retain the MMD in power. The country is awash with MMD campaign posters and materials, even in the remotest parts of the country. Its campaign appears to be well-oiled and well-organised. The electoral playing field is clearly uneven and skewed in favour of the incumbent party, the MMD. But is our view that the decision to vote for the MMD and President Rupiah Banda is a function of a combination of factors, including ethnicity, regionalism and a perception that the opposition does not offer a credible and viable alternative to the MMD. We do not believe that there is an overwhelming endorsement of the MMD development agenda by the electorate, as the split decision on the parties and presidential candidates clearly shows that the people who remain opposed to the MMD and Rupiah Banda are still in a majority and a slight lead of 3% is should be no reason to celebrate nation-wide endorsement.

Dr. Neo Simutanyi Executive Director Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Lusaka, 7th September, 2011
7

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful