DESPERATE PF ENDORSES ANOTHER BOGUS POLL
The Patriotic Front has endorsed another highly suspicious poll purporting to give the government a 60% share of the vote at August’s general elections. The research was allegedly conducted by the Consortium of Zambian Thought Leaders, though Open Zambia can find no record of this organisation existing. It comes as the PF continues to tour the country – despite ongoing restrictions – in a desperate attempt to win voters.
The poll, which has been endorsed by the PF’s campaign manager Geoffrey Mwamba, claims that President Edgar Lungu will win next August’s elections by a margin of 60% – an 10% increase on his performance in 2016. It says the United Party for National Development will secure just 36% of votes while the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy will come in third with 2.9%.
The research seems highly suspicious, however, with the organisation behind it having no online presence at all. It also follows the roundly debunked poll by Farraline Public Relations, which said that President Lungu would receive 44.5% of the vote. This research was quickly disproved by Professor Nic Cheeseman of the University of Birmingham, who demonstrated that the methodology behind the poll was extremely flawed and that the organisations conducting it had no experience of this kind of research.
“The poll they put together is so bad only the most committed government supporter could think it is genuine,” said Cheeseman.
Nevertheless the PF backed the research, claiming it had come from the Political Science Association of Zambia – an organisation which again has no previous record of ever existing. The governing party seems determined to convince Zambians that the election is already over, so that large numbers of opposition supporters don’t bother to come out and vote.
Meanwhile, credible research continues to show a decent lead for the UPND, with a poll by Afrobarometer giving the opposition a 2 point lead against the Patriotic Front. The research also showed that support for the PF had massively deteriorated since 2016.
Analysing the data, Jeremy Seekings of the Univeristy of Cape Town said, “In the absence of a shift in voters’ attitudes and preferences during the election campaign, it seems likely that Lungu and the Patriotic Front will perform much more weakly in the elections scheduled for August 2021 than in preceding elections.”
Afrobaromter is a highly respected polling agency whose data is often cited by the World Bank, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and other reputable organisations.