Survey a Tsvangirai campaign ploy

I WAS interested to see the “leaked results” of the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) survey regarding who would win this weekend’s presidential election.


My scepticism of the survey results published on Studio 7 and in the Zimbabwe Independent recently is based on the fact that in 2005 the MPOI conducted a survey and then kept the result secret “because some of your top people didn’t like it”, in the words of Professor Eldred Masunungure, director of MPOI.
The survey conducted then was a snap survey in Harare on the issue of the senate election.  The survey was taken in September 2005, one month before the disastrous split of the MDC over this issue. 
Masunungure told me that some 75% of respondents in Harare were in favour of participating in the senate election, and that this is what “some of your top people” were not happy about. 
The MPOI therefore suppressed that result, and the entire world was allowed to come under the impression that Zimbabweans as a whole rejected the senate project. This impression was false — and Morgan Tsvangirai’s sudden volte face in August to reject anything to do with the senate was publicly supported by the MPOI’s silence on its findings.
So now we have the MPOI declaring that Tsvangirai will win the presidential election, with Mugabe coming second and Makoni third, while over 30% of voters still keep their vote their secret.
Since more than 30% of respondents would not say which presidential candidate they would vote for, I do not believe this poll to be a very reliable indicator of the actual election result. Was it leaked to campaign for Tsvangirai?

 By Trudy Stevenson

Stevenson is the MDC’s outgoing Harare North MP.

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