SUPPORT for President Robert Mugabe has plunged since the formation of a unity government six months ago, according to two polls, the results of which have only now been revealed.
Less than 10% of adults would vote for him or Zanu PF if elections were held now, the surveys suggests.
Mugabe has lost 20% of his support since the March 2008 elections in which Morgan Tsvangirai beat him.
However, after a campaign of Zanu PF violence, Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw from a presidential run-off and Mugabe won the one-man race and was sworn into five more years in office.
But Sadc persuaded the two to form a unity government.
Information leaked from the results of two recent public opinion surveys 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 (MPOI), 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 findings.
“The survey covers a wide range of opinion about many subjects and until analysis is complete we cannot release partial information,” he said.
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 %; Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change would get 57%, while between 31% and 33% are still undecided; “Even if all the ‘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, say they would vote for Tsvangirai and his MDC in a “free and fair” poll.
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.
He added that if the unity government collapsed Mugabe’s clique would cause a “bloodbath”. – The Daily News (South Africa).