Why Using A Twitter Poll As An Approval Rating Is Not Such A Good Idea

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar
President Mnangagwa Inauguration

If you’re a Twitter user, you may have come across and even participated in the infamous poll uploaded by Studio 7 VOA. If you’re not a Twitter user you may have come across some media outlets running the story claiming that the President had won approval ratings, stemming from the aforementioned poll.

The idea that a Twitter poll can be used as an “approval rating” is a bit absurd. Why? Well, it’s not because people on Twitter don’t matter but Twitter polls are extremely malleable.

Twitter polls are not useful on a serious statistical level

Twitter polls aren’t really useful for any serious research or as informers of strategy:

  • You can’t see who voted so you can’t gain any demographic insight. This means a number of people outside the country, who have no idea who our President is could have voted and whoever put up the poll would have no idea of knowing that…
  • Whoever is running the poll is already starting with their own audience, which is only reflective of themselves and no larger group or demographic. How many Zimbos aren’t on Twitter or didn’t participate in the poll. A significant number.
  • And most importantly they’re EASY TO MANIPULATE. Twitter polls can be easily sabotaged by an automated script, otherwise known as a bot, created to submit multiple votes. These scripts allow online polling to be used as the cheapest propaganda tool of the age.

So while the President may have high-approval ratings (we don’t know because a proper poll hasn’t been conducted) reaching that conclusion using a Twitter poll is irresponsible and quite frankly, foolish…


  1. Tonderai

    While the premise of your article may be correct, I feel your own political persuasions may have clouded your conclusion.

    2 separate twitter polls were undertaken by 2 separate, and frankly, anti-Zanu pages and both yielded similar results. Now, either you’re insinuating that they were commissioned by ED supporters, which is highly unlikely, or online votes were bought and paid for (a possibility, but to what end?).

    This may well have been serendipitous on the part of ED.

    Nevertheless, I do agree that twitter polls are essentially straw polls. Not statistically relevant but they can make one feel good and bolster a political narrative and support. But back to the fact of them being run on opposing political spectrum and online, is telling in itself.

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Hey Tonderai, I don’t really see where I insinuated that the polls were commissioned by ED supporters or that the votes were bought and paid for. What I actually said was i) There’s no demographic insight from such polls ii) The polls are reflective of a specific audience which increases chances of a lopsided result and iii) The polls are easy to manipulate using bots. I don’t see where I suggested the votes being paid for.

  2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Coming from the guys who write complete articles off individual tweets. Now Twitter isn’t trustworthy, as a source, when it suits your narrative.

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Oga, argue the points in the article…

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        There’s nothing to argue here. I’m highlighting the bias that, when you write articles, Twitter is a reliable source of information. But, when someone else references Twitter, the information is shrouded in doubt and open to scrutiny as well as manipulation. Other than being hypocritical, I put forth that had the survey results been to your “expectation”, the article would have taken the survey to be a source of truth.

        1. Farai Mudzingwa

          Lol you don’t even know my political affiliation and yet you’re talking about my expectation. Wow is all can I say. Have a good day mate…

  3. Anonymous

    kkkkk. You are crazy as you always write your articles based on Twitter. Let me give you this argument. If ED and Trump do not have high approval ratings why is it that we have people voting for them and the communities then start talking of voter manipulation and rigging. Thats too lame. ED may not be doing a great job but some pple might approve for him to be a leader. Get it “APPROVE”. Same scenario as that of in USA.

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Read the article, I actually said ED might have high approval ratings but a Twitter poll is not the way to prove that.

      Trump’s approval ratings where not confirmed via Twitter polls by the way.
      Read the article before arguing sometimes

  4. Ole

    You can buy twitter votes from websites like this https://www.buytwitterpollvotes.com/pricing. You can even hire a post grad IT student from any university in the region to do a dirty job for you.