Analysts give mixed reactions on JB’s poll win

Political commentators are expressing mixed reactions over the findings of the recent opinion polls by the Research Tech Consultants which has indicated that President Joyce Banda, who is leading People’s Party (PP) in the May 20 Tripartite Elections, would win the May 20 polls.  

The poll found that Banda was preferred by 1 609 respondents, representing 42 percent of the sample trailed by MCP ‘s Lazarous Chakwera with 23 percent, then DPP’s Peter Mutharika at 22 percent and Atupele Muluzi of UDF at 10 percent of the national sample while “other presidential candidates” got 172 respondents or four percent.

Augustine Magolowondo an analyst with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, based in Lilongwe told Nyasa Times that he would not comment on the research findings by an organization whose credentials he does not know.

“It would be difficult for me to comment because I haven’t seen the findings and also I don’t know the credentials of the organization that has conducted the opinion polls,” he told Nyasa Times.

University of Malawi researcher and lecturer Professor Wiseman Chijere Chirwa based at Chancellor College in Zomba also said it would be difficult for him to say whether the findings are justified or not unless he has a look at  the research methodology used.

Kanyongolo: The onus is on the President
Kanyongolo:  Difficult to comment
Magolowondo: What was the methodology used
Magolowondo: What was the methodology used

“By the way where are these guys from?  What are their credentials?  Do they have expertise in this field? Unless I fully know them is when I can think of commenting on their findings,” he said.

However, another political analyst at Chancellor College,  Mustapha Hussein told Nyasa Times that the findings really reflect the situation on the ground.

“I am convinced that should the elections held today President Banda would win the polls,” said Hussein.

“ I have also done my own snap survey but talking to many friends and other people. It has shown that many people will vote for President Banda so the finding are indeed the true reflection of the situation on the ground,” he said.

However, Hussein said the finding should be taken with caution because people’s perception changes with time and that there may be late political game changers.

“Anything can happen between now and elections day,” he said.

Constitution law expert Edge Kanyongolo, who is associate professor of law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, said it is difficult to comment on opinion polls unless one is informed on the precise methodology used.

Commentator Henry Kachaje took it on Facebook to say “poll results of great national interest, you would expect a little more detail and analysis” of the pollsters. He said any previous track record of the firm in conducting similar research should have been indicated.

Earlier this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) based in London also tipped Banda to win the presidential race on the back of her incumbency status, albeit with a narrow margin.

At the weekend, Al Jazeera also reported that many Malawians said in interviews that President Banda would win the May 20 elections in what is perceived to be a four-way presidential race.

Al-Jazeera said Banda has “a narrow lead” over three other front runners Chakwera,  Muluzi  and Mutharika.

Twelve presidential candidates will appear on the ballot paper.

Al-Jazeera also noted  in its report a recent survey by Nyasa Times which found Banda garnering 30 percent of the vote, followed by Chakwera at 29 percent, Muluzi at 22 percent and Mutharika trailing with 19 percent.

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