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Zanu PF, MDC Officials in Heated Exchange Over Poll Findings

An opinion poll indicating a sharp decline in support for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation has sparked a heated debate between the party and Zanu PF, which the survey says has gained support.

The report by a Harare think-tank, the Mass Public Opinion Institute, titled Change and New Politics in Zimbabwe, shows that support for the MDC-T dropped from 38 percent in 2010 to 20 percent this year while ZANU PF’s base grew from 17 percent to 31 percent over the same period.

The report says 1,198 Zimbabweans were sampled between 23 June and 7 July 2012. According to the report, 47 percent of the respondents said they would not vote in the next elections or refused to indicate who they would vote for.

In a heated exchange between MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora and Chris Mutsvangwa, a Zanu PF Central Committee member, Mwonzora reiterated his party position that the survey does not show that Zanu PF is becoming popular but said the report reveals that “a significant 47% of people refused to disclose their political preferences for fear of intimidation.”

But Mutsvangwa disagreed. He said it is surprising that the MDC-T “which used to embrace Mass Public Opinion Institute opinion surveys in the past, is now denouncing its findings.”