Robert Mugabe support plunges – New poll

Less than 10 percent of adults would vote for him or Zanu-PF if elections were held now, a new survey suggests.

Mugabe, 86, has lost 20 percent of his support since 2008’s elections in which then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, beat him.

However, after a campaign of Zanu-PF violence, Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw from a run-off and Mugabe was sworn into five more years in office.

But the South African Development Community (SADC) persuaded the two to form a unity government.

Information leaked from the results of two recent public opinion surveys, conducted in relative peace for the first time in 10 years, shows that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF would be reduced to a small opposition party if elections were held now.

A survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute, which accurately predicted election results over the past 10 years, sent interviewers for the first time deep into Mugabe’s rural strongholds.

A second survey, commissioned a month later in May, confirmed the results. Eldred Masunungure, director of the MPOI, and a senior lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said he could not comment on the political findings.

"The survey covers a wide range of opinion about many subjects and until analysis is complete we cannot release partial information."

Nevertheless, key information about Mugabe’s drop in popularity has been leaked from various sources. It shows that;

  • Mugabe and Zanu-PF are indivisible in the voters’ minds and both would be lucky to score between 8 and 10 percent;
  • Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change would get 57 percent, while between 31 and 33 percent are still undecided; "Even if all ‘don’t knows’ voted for Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the MDC would easily win any election," one senior researcher said this week.

    Close to Mugabe’s rural home in Mashonaland West province, many voters formerly employed on white-owned farms expropriated by Mugabe’s thugs since 2000, say they would vote for Tsvangirai and his MDC in a "free and fair’ poll.

    Veteran Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said the results of the survey "confirm the continuing deep erosion and breakdown of Zanu-PF and Mugabe’s support as the party of liberation.

    "If Zanu-PF is aware of this, this makes them even more dangerous as Zanu-PF’s only power is state power, from the presidency, and they are fighting desperately to hold on to that power."

    Raftopoulos said if the unity government collapsed Mugabe’s clique would cause a "bloodbath".