Malawi’s latest survey puts Banda ahead of opponents

Afrobarometer, a pan-African network of researchers that carry out surveys to gauge public opinion, on Tuesday released its findings on Malawi that put new President Joyce Banda ahead of her opponents.

The survey was carried out in June 2012 and sampled a total of 2,400 adult citizens across the country, giving it a margin of error of +/-2% at the 95% confidence interval — a nationally representative sample.

Some of the topics the survey tackled are public attitudes on civil society and NGOs; attitudes on the rights of women, children , people with disabilities and homosexuals. It also looked at the partisan identity in the country; voting intentions and opinion on crossing the floor.

Below is a summary of some the findings;

– Overall, 94% of Malawians don’t think that same sex couples should have the right to marry and be in relationships.

– While most supporters of the main political parties in the country tend to hold strong views against homosexuality, the People’s Party supporters are the most conservative, with 98% of them against gay relationships while DPP supporters are the least conservative, with 92% against gay relationships

Political Partisan identity and Voting intentions:
– The PP has overtaken the DPP as the most supported party, but with only 27% of Malawians claiming its membership. The DPP is second with 16%, followed by UDF and MCP with 9 and 4% support respectively.

– However, if an election were held in mid June 2012, the PP presidential candidate would have won easily, with 46% of the vote. Note that the PP candidate would have benefitted a lot from the support of ‘independent voters’ – those individuals who claim not to support any political party.

– There are also some interesting patterns in terms of party support by region: the PP enjoys the highest share of support in the Northern and Central regions. The DPP is still marginally ahead in the Southern region.

– There is widespread view among Malawians that MPs that cross the floor should be required to seek re-election