Let the people speak | Citizens' views on political leadership

More than 6 out of 10 citizens (62%) report that they feel closest to CCM out of all political parties. Further, when asked which party’s candidates – without reference to specific names - they will vote for in the election, more than 6 out of 10 citizens say that they will vote for the CCM candidates for President (66%), Parliament (60%) and Councillor (60%). These data suggest a return to a level of support for CCM last seen in 2012.

Chadema continues to be the second most popular party by a significant margin when compared to other opposition parties. There has been a slight decline in citizens reporting that they will select the Chadema candidates for President, MP and Councillor.

Apart from CCM and the parties which are members of Ukawa, only ACT-Wazalendo was mentioned by 1% or more of the population in any of these categories.

When asked directly to name the Presidential candidate they would vote for, 65% of citizens chose the CCM candidate, John Magufuli and 25% mentioned the Chadema (and Ukawa) candidate, Edward Lowassa. The remaining 10% of respondents chose from among the six other presidential candidates, refused to answer or were undecided. However data collection occurred before some parties, including ACT-Wazalendo, had named their presidential candidate. It is important to note that these data (collected in August and September) are not predictions of the election result. What they show is that at the start of the campaign period, the CCM presidential candidate, John Magufuli, had a lead in terms of public opinion.

In general, citizens are not well informed about the official status of Ukawa as a coalition. Almost half (49%) of citizens think that Ukawa is a registered political party which it is not. Even more (57%) think that the name ‘Ukawa’ will appear on their ballot papers. This may add an element of uncertainty around voters’ reactions on election day, unless the campaigns and voter education work to correct these misperceptions.

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled Let the people speak: Citizens’ views on political leadership. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on the first call round conducted in late August and early September 2015, with 1,848 respondents. Respondents were selected using recognised methods of probability sampling as used by research institutions all over the world. The sample covers all regions of mainland Tanzania. These data are compared with those from survey rounds in previous years, including:

  • The first Sauti za Wananchi baseline survey from late 2012
  • Sauti za Wananchi Round 10 from October 2013
  • Sauti za Wananchi Round 24 from September 2014
  • Sauti za Wananchi survey rounds in April to July 2015
  • A new baseline survey conducted in July and August 2015

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