Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli's approval rating has dropped from 71 per cent last year to 55 per cent, but he would be reelected if elections were held today, according to a new Twaweza report.
Findings of a study titled Speaking Truth to Power? Citizens' Views on Politics in Tanzania show that Dr Magufuli's approval rating has dropped from 96 per cent in his first year in office in 2016 - a fall of 41 percentage points.
The report notes that Dr Magufuli now holds both the highest and lowest approval ratings ever for a Tanzanian president. Briefing the media on the findings in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Twaweza executive director Aidan Eyakuze said while President Magufuli would have been reelected by 55 per cent of the vote if a presidential election were held today, his closest challenger from the opposition Chadema would have garnered only 15 per cent of the vote.
"Other political parties, including NCCR Mageuzi, CUF (Civic United Front) and ACT-Wazalendo, would have collected one per cent each. It is worth noting that 29 per cent of voters are undecided as to which party to vote for," he said.
According to the study which involved 1,214 respondents in Tanzania Mainland in April, this year, CCM would have garnered 51 per cent and 62 per cent of the vote in parliamentary and civic elections, respectively, against 18 per cent and 16 per cent for Chadema.
NCCR Mageuzi, CUF and ACT-Wazalendo would each have polled one per cent of the vote in both the parliamentary and civic elections. The percentage of undecided voters is 30.
Mr Eyakuze said citizens were still more conversant with the larger parties, including CCM, Chadema and CUF, than other outfits such as NCCR-Mageuzi (54 per cent), Tanzania Labour Party (41 per cent) and ACT-Wazalendo (32 per cent).
Older citizens (71 per cent) are much more likely than others to approve of the President's performance compared with citizens aged between 18 and 29 (46 per cent).
Mr Eyakuze said women (57 per cent) were slightly more likely than men (53 per cent) to approve of President Magufuli's performance, noting that citizens without formal or primary education (57-58 per cent) were more likely to approve than those with secondary education or higher (47 per cent).
The study also shows that approval among rural residents has declined sharply to 52 per cent from 72 per cent in 2017.
Approval among urban residents has also declined significantly from 70 per cent in 2017 to 59 per cent this year.
MPs' and councillors' approval ratings have also declined significantly over the past year.