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Afrobarometer forced to explain itself after survey shows Mugabe has popular support and ZANU-PF would win elections if held tomorrow

Afrobarometer, a think tank whose recent survey showed that 64 percent of the Zimbabweans who participated in its survey trusted President Robert Mugabe and that 38 percent would vote for the Zimbabwe African National  Union-Patriotic Front against 16 percent who would vote for the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai if elections were held tomorrow, has been forced to explain its findings.

Below is the explanation by two of its key people, Brian Howard and Carolyn Logan, issued yesterday.

Recent Afrobarometer survey findings in Zimbabwe created a firestorm of reaction in the news media and on social media – a fact for which we think Zimbabweans should congratulate themselves.

A willingness to confront and debate public-opinion data is a sign of democratic health.

A good proportion of reactions has been dubious and even angry at Afrobarometer for reporting certain numbers – in particular the finding that 64% of Zimbabwean survey respondents say they trust President Robert Mugabe “somewhat” or “a lot.”

Afrobarometer has a highly competent national partner in Zimbabwe, the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), which carried out the survey, released initial results, and is fully capable of explaining how these data were collected and analyzed.

As the pan-African, non-partisan network of which MPOI is a part, Afrobarometer does not involve itself in partisan debates, but we do value feedback, and maybe we can offer a few clarifying points for consideration as the public discussion continues:

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