The MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has built an election campaign momentum which has seen his popularity dramatically surging 6% in the last two months, hot on the heels of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a new survey reveals.
Commissioned by Afrobarometer, the poll, whose results will be officially released today, shows that the main opposition coalition leader has cut down the Zanu-PF candidate, Mnangagwa’s 11% lead to 3%.
The Afrobarometer survey is conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute of Zimbabwe and is the most credible locally.
The poll showed that 37% of registered voters would vote for Chamisa in the July 30 elections compared to just 31% at the end of May. A total 40% of surveyed voters said they would vote for Mnangagwa compared to 42% in May, a 2% popularity decline.
This means Chamisa, whose campaign is hamstrung by a modest war chest, has been effective on the campaign trail.
A survey conducted just after the youthful opposition leader had taken over the reins from the late Morgan Tsvangirai, showed he would get only 17% of the vote.
Nonetheless, there is still a great deal of work in the home stretch to be done by both Chamisa and Mnangagwa to win over voters. The opinion poll shows the race is still wide open. A total 20% of registered voters are not certain who they will vote for.
The survey noted this constituency had the potential to swing the vote, saying the final 10 days in the countdown to the polls will see the rivals fighting tooth and nail to convince the undecided voters.
The other 21 presidential candidates are seen scrambling for the remaining 3% of voters, according to the survey.
There is a strong possibility of a run-off pitting the two political protagonists, the survey says. The collective opinion of a group of individuals — otherwise known as the wisdom of the crowd — gave Mnangagwa 44% of the vote against Chamisa’s 34%.
A total 34% of the polled voters did not trust the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as a “neutral and unbiased” arbiter in the poll.
Zec has faced relentless criticism from Chamisa and other opposition leaders who say it has been incompetent and dodgy.