Zimbabwe’s Voters Favour Chamisa over Mnangagwa, Survey Shows

Results of an independent survey of Zimbabwean voters show that Nelson Chamisa is to defeat incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, obtaining an outright majority of votes in elections scheduled for later this year. However, many voters expressed concern about whether or not the election would be free and fair.

7 February 2023 ·   2 min read

Zimbabwe’s Voters Favour Chamisa over Mnangagwa, Survey Shows

The survey was conducted for The Brenthurst Foundation by independent London-based research group SABI Strategy. The survey, conducted in January this year using an in-depth 15-minute questionnaire, shows Chamisa would win 53% of the vote to Mnangagwa’s 40% among those who say they will definitely vote.

The survey also showed that Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change party (CCC) is set to win the parliamentary election, out-performing ZANU-PF, which has held power for 43 years since independence in 1980.


Asked ‘Thinking ahead to the next general election, which party will you cast your vote for?’, 52% said they would vote for the CCC while only 40% said Zanu-PF.

The CCC, was formed out of the MDC Alliance in January 2022 to clear up voter confusion over the use of the MDC name by a party which was hostile to it.

Some 42% of survey respondents said they had voted for Zanu-PF in 2018, with 40% saying they had voted for the CCC’s predecessor MDC Alliance, suggesting a sea-change in voter sentiment as Zimbabwe’s economic collapse accelerates under Mnangagwa.

But 47% of voters believe the 2023 election will not be free and fair compared to just 38% who say it will be free and fair. ‘Cheating in the counting process’ was cited as the biggest threat to a free and fair election (41%) with ‘the government abusing its power’ cited by 29% and ‘security force violence’ cited by 21%.

Asked why they were shifting their support, voters cited weak leadership, corruption, bad policies and future prospects as the main reasons.

Chamisa emerged as the public figure with the highest favourability score, scoring 59% to Mnangagwa who trailed with 43%, narrowly ahead of CCC MP and former MDC finance minister Tendai Biti.

When it came to political parties, the CCC enjoyed a net-favourability (subtracting negative ratings from positive ratings) of 31%, way ahead of Zanu-PF’s -4%.

More voters believed the CCC would govern more effectively with 47% favouring the opposition party compared to 33% favouring Zanu-PF.


  • If an election were to be held tomorrow, Nelson Chamisa would win 53% of the vote.

  • If an election were to be held tomorrow, the CCC would win 52% of the parliamentary vote.

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  • Nelson Chamisa has a positive favourability rating of 16 points higher than Emmerson


  • On governance, 47% of respondents believe the CCC can govern more effectively while just

    33% believe ZANU-PF can govern more effectively.

  • 54% of respondents believe Zimbabwe is moving in the wrong direction. The most important issues are corruption and jobs.

  • A majority of respondents believe the ZANU-PF government of the past four decades is the main reason for the country’s current problems.

  • A majority of respondents (51%) would be happy to see a coalition govern Zimbabwe.

  • 58% of respondents surveyed believe that Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine is an act of

    aggression that should be condemned.

  • 46% of respondents would ‘go immediately’ if they had the opportunity to leave Zimbabwe

  • 78% of respondents have a close family member living outside Zimbabwe. Of these

    respondents, 51% say their close family member is living in South Africa.

  • 47% of respondents believe the upcoming election will not be free and fair mainly due to

    cheating in the counting process.

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