Results vindicate Freedom House survey

EMERGING results from Wednesday’s general elections seem to vindicate the Freedom House survey findings last year that Zanu PF was recovering electoral ground while the MDC-T support was dwindling nationally.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are headed for a landslide win giving credence to the Freedom House report and other surveys that over the last three years showed him and the party recovering and sometimes leading.

One of the major findings was that Zanu PF had increased its support from 19 to 31% while the MDC-T’s dramatically dropped from 39 to 30% in the same period.

However, the reports further stated that 47% of the electorate remained undecided and it seems it was this critical mass that moved towards Zanu PF through various methods including rigging.

Key findings of the survey included:

– 47% of those who said they would vote in the next elections stated “this is the election that will make the difference”. The largest block of respondents, 45%, said the Zimbabwean people would be ready for elections in the first half of 2013. 85% were “sure” or “very sure” that they would be casting their ballots in the last election.

– A total of 35% respondents in this survey (compared with 16% in 2010) believed that the elections would be free and fair.
65% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “fear of violence and intimidation make people vote for parties or candidates other than the ones they prefer.” Respondents’ actual experiences of violence have decreased, however, with 22% reporting incidents of violence in their communities from 2010-2012, a drop from the 58% who reported the same between 2008 and 2010.

– While Zimbabweans still positively assessed the Inclusive Government (IG) on a variety of issues, its positive ratings were substantially less positive than in 2010. In contrast with 2010, survey respondents were greatly more critical of IG’s ability to assure Zimbabweans freedom to speak about political matters openly. 44% stated the IG was doing “poorly” or “very poorly” in assuring freedom of speech compared with 9% who gave this response in 2010.

– The most serious problem Zimbabweans confront is unemployment. Approximately 2/3 of Zimbabweans are formally unemployed, and the effects are felt strongly at both community and national levels.

-Zimbabweans have become more critical of their political leaders. While 40% said they trusted political parties “a lot” or “somewhat” in 2010, this has dropped to 30% in 2012. Based on the responses of the 53% of survey participants who agreed to state their political choices, trust in MDC-T, in particular, dropped from 66 to 39%, while trust in Zanu PF rose from 36 to 52%.

– When asked who they would vote for if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, 47% of respondents said they would not vote, or refused to indicate who they would vote for (up from 41% in 2010). Of the 53% who declared their preference, 20% said they would support MDC-T (down from 38% in 2010). and 31% Zanu PF (up from 17% in 2010).

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