According to the study, 32 percent of the 2400 Zimbabweans sampled said if an election had been called in July this year, they were going to vote for President Mugabe of Zanu PF, while 31 percent said they would go with the MDC T leader.
The survey further gives Professor Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller formation of MDC a paltry 1 percent.
“Any future election in Zimbabwe remains too close a call,” says the report, “No political party in Zimbabwe can afford to be complacent about an easy electoral victory.
“The Afrobarometer survey of popular voting intentions in July 2012 strongly suggests that, at present, neither Zanu PF nor MDC-T could secure the presidency without a second round run-off election.”
The survey, which had the input of the Mass Public Opinion Institute, further, says 22 percent of those spoken to refused to disclose their political preferences.
In terms of party support, the survey reveals that Zanu PF and MDC-T were tied on 31 percent while 22 percent again refused to disclose its preferences.
Compared to the 2008 survey, the MDC-T plunged from the 57 percent support it enjoyed then to 31 percent while Zanu PF ascended significantly from 10 percent to 31.
In terms of the individual parties’ perceived performance while in government, a greater majority say they are happier with what Zanu PF has achieved in stirring the country forward.
This was based on the party’s efforts in addressing issues to do with the economy and their educational needs.
The report says more than 78 percent of people who say they are MDC-T are still afraid of political intimidation while 47 percent of Zanu PF supporters are among the fearful.
Although Zanu PF has a narrow advantage in terms of support, the report says those who fear disclosing their political affiliation would however choose to vote for MDC-T on a scale of 49 percent to Zanu PF’s 45.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said, unlike the Freedom House survey which claimed his party had been upstaged by Zanu PF in terms of support, the Afrobarometer report was a fair assessment of the situation on the ground.
“It is a very, very good report in our view. The first difference it has with the Freedom House report is that it deals with the issue of violence and places sufficient weight on the effect of violence on the poll itself.
“To us as MDC-T, it tells us that we must work harder than we are currently doing.”
Mwonzora attributed the loss of voter confidence in the MDC-T’s overall performance in government to continued sabotage by Zanu PF each time his party tried to implement its ideas.
“They (Zimbabweans) did not anticipate the stubbornness and the intransigence of Mugabe. They did not expect that Zanu PF would make the implementation of the policies impossible,” he said.
Afrobarometer is an independent, non partisan social science research project organised as an African led International collaboration.