Botswana’s ruling party enjoys strong lead in pre-election survey

In a hypothetical election, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) would enjoy a 2-to-1 lead over the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), 44% to 22%, according to an Afrobarometer survey conducted in July/August. But almost one-fourth of respondents did not reveal their voting preference or said they would not vote.

As the country approaches general elections on Oct. 23, the ruling party faces a challenge from opposition parties united under the UDC banner as well as the newly founded Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), which has formed a loose coalition with UDC under the leadership of former President Ian Khama. At the time of this survey, however, the BPF had yet to gain significant traction among Batswana.

The BDP has ruled the country since independence in 1966, but in hotly contested elections in 2014, it fell short for the first time of a majority of votes cast.