Public opinion survey conducted by Malawi’s Institute of Public Opinion Research (IPOR) indicates the Malawi May 21 2019 elections remains too close to call as the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is the biggest loser in the current political climate with the coming of new party UTM led by Vice President Saulos Chilima as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is holding a “narrow lead.”
The survey was conducted with support by Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) was carried by University of Malawi professors Blessings Chinsinga, Boniface Dulani, Joseph Chunga and Mwayi Masumbu.
The pollsters said the survey looked at the several dimension of the political environment.
“The first objective was to assess what citizens think of the overall direction of the country. The second was to measure people’s views on the level of democracy and how it is perceived to be working as well as respect of people’s freedoms.
“The study further examined the level of trust in public institutions and leaders. Another objective was to explore the topography of political party support and people’s voting intentions to determine which party or candidates would win if the elections were held in August 2018, which might provide a mirror into the likely result of the actual elections in May 2019, holding all other factors constant. Lastly, we look forward to 2019 elections focusing on people’s anticipation of integrity of the elections,” IPOR said.
IPOR in a dispatch made available to Nyasa Times says it conducted a survey to gauge people’s views on the state of their country ahead of May 2019 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in August and September 2018.
“A nationally representative sample of adult Malawians was drawn from a framework provided by the National Statistical Office (NSO). Data for the survey was captured on tablets running on Open Data Kit (ODK) and submitted directly to an IPOR server,” said the survey firm.
According to IPOR, DPP holds a narrow lead in terms of party identification with 33% ahead of MCP (31%) and UTM (17%) in terms of proportion of people who say they feel close to a political party.
“DPP is most dominant in the South (52%) seconded by UDF (18%). MCP leads the Centre (52%) followed by DPP and UTM (both at 16%). The North is highly contested with UTM at 29%, DPP at 28% and MCP at 18%,” reads the survey report.
In terms of residence of respondents, MCP holds a slight lead over DPP in rural areas (34% to 32%) with UTM coming distant third (14%). Urbanites’ supports is toward DPP (33%) closely followed by UTM (31%) then MCP and UDF (14% each), the survey firm said.
“Across all age groups, DPP and MCP closely contest for the pole position. UTM’s support is stronger amount younger respondents but it is still below that of MCP and DPP,” it said.
The opinion survey report said if elections were held at the time of the survey, the DPP and MCP candidates were effectively in a statistical tie at 27% and 24% respectively.
“UTM was in third place at 16%, followed by the UDF and PP candidates at 6% and 5% respectively. It is important to note that 11% ‘refused to answer’ and another 11% indicated that they didn’t know who they would vote for.
“Like the pattern in party support DPP leads the South (43%), MCP holds the Centre (45%) and UTM is ahead in the North (24%,” reads the report.
IPOR said the picture is significantly mirrored when it comes to parliamentary and local government voting intentions for parliamentary elections DPP would scoop 27% to MCP’s 24% and UTM’s 10%. In councillors, 26% indicated they would vote for DPP candidates, 22% for MCP and 10% for UTM.
The pollsters state that a clear majority of Malawians (78%) say the country is going in the “wrong direction”. It said an equally high proportion (79%) rated the overall economic condition of the country as “fairly bad/very bad”.
“A significant number (42%) expressed a pessimistic view that the economy is likely to be ‘much worse/worse’ compared to 29% of who felt it will be ‘Better/much better’ in the next 12 months,” reads the evidence-based analysis of the country’s political landscape.
The survey also established that over 6 in 10 respondents were of the view that corruption has increased over the past year while 14% said it has decreased.
The survey firm also established that most important national problems Malawians face are food shortage (18%), management of the economy (16%), and poverty or destitution (7%) topped the list of critical challenges that Malawians expect the government to address.
About 75% of Malawians rated government’s performance in dealing with their priority problems as bad, the pollster said.
Zomba-based IPOR is an independent, nonpartisan research project that measures the social, political, and economic atmosphere in Africa.
It explained that its methodology that the data collection was done by administering a questionnaire to a nationally representative sample of Malawians.
“The sample size for the survey was 1,200, which was informed by the goal of balancing the collection of nationally representative data with keeping the overall costs of data collection at affordable levels,” IPOR said in its dispatch.
It said the sample size enabled the pollsters to understand the public’s perception and attitudes in the country only at regional and national levels.
“In order to get to this sample size, we employed a systematic random selection of participants who were of voting age respecting a gender quota. The distribution of the sample was proportional to the population size. This helped to produce results that were representative, reliable and generalizable to the whole population,” the firm said/
IPOR also released a Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI) focusing on education and healthcare service delivery.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :