Malawi paper says DPP’s Peter Mutharika wins opinion poll

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) acting president Peter Mutharika is the most preferred candidate ahead of 2014 polls according to the opinion poll conducted by the Nation Publications Limited.

The survey results announced in one of the publictaion’s titles,  the  Nation on Sunday revealed that Mutharika’s political fortunes have soared as President Joyce Banda continues to tumble down the political precipice.

The paper said, in the week-long nationally representative survey, the majority of Malawians said if presidential elections were held today they would vote for DPP president.

“The survey which polled 4415 respondents from across the country puts UDF president Atupele Muluzi second, followed by Banda, while MCP president John Tembo came a distant last,” the paper reported.

Peter Mutharika: DPP acting president

The weekly added: “Out of the 4415 respondents, 1790 (41%) said they would vote for Mutharika, 1628 (37%) indicated preference for Atupele; 726 (16%) went for PP’s Banda, while Tembo could only go away with 271 votes, representing 6 percent of the sample.”

Presidential press secretary trashed the paper for conducting the survey, saying it is not scientific and accused the publication of promoting an opposition presidential candidate.

But the publication informed that the survey was conducted using different data collection methods such as face-to-face interviews in 20 enumeration districts, social media platform Facebook and short messaging service (SMS).

It reported that for face-to-face interviews, Atupele dominated 10 districts: namely Karonga, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Mzuzu, Mwanza, Rumphi, Dowa, neon, Nkhotakota and Balaka.

Mutharika who dominated in SMS and social media responses, carried the day in six districts. These are Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Phalombe, Salima, Chikhawa and Thyolo.

On her part, President Banda is reported to have ruled the roost in her home district Zomba, Lilongwe, Chitipa and Nsanje.

Meanwhile, Mutharika says he is excited “that people do see that DPP is a very positive party”.

“I believe people can see that for themselves from the speeches that I have made in rallies,” he told the paper.

The newspaper also quoted University of Malawi political analyst Simbalashe Mungoshi who said the survey results could be attributed to government’s failure to adequately cushion the masses from the effects of the devaluation and subsequent flotation of the Kwacha.

Mungoshi, however, said most people in the country have not yet made up their minds on who to vote for in 2014, saying Malawians often make voting decisions in the last minute.

“People are still searching. We haven’t had alliances which will also decide which direction voting will go. Politicians are also weighing the options on who to engage in alliances,” he is quoted as saying.

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