2021 Opinion Poll Shocker! Figures Point to Tricky Election

President Yoweri T. Museveni would win the presidency by a 59% margin, if elections were held early this month, an opinion poll commissioned by The Pepper Intelligence Unit of this newspaper has revealed.

The margin puts him in poll position and ahead of the rest of the contenders to the presidential throne who include Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu who comes second at 20%, Mugisha Muntu at 6%, Patrick Amuriat at 6%, Nobert Mao at 2%, Henry Tumukunde at 2%, John Katumba at 2%, Joseph Kabuleta at 1%, Nancy Kalembe at 1%, Willy Mayambala at 0% and Fred Mwesigye at 0% in that order. Only 1% of the respondents said they would not vote any of the above candidates.

The above result means that Candidate Museveni was ahead of the pack and if the nation was to go to polls in early December, he would return to power courtesy of a race where the winner is constitutionally required to garner a 50%+ 1 majority win.

The Ugandan Electoral Commission has set January 14, 2021 as the polling date for the presidential elections. The presidential race has fielded 11 candidates who are Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party, Patrick Amuriat Oboi of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Party, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu of the National Unity Party (NUP), Gregory Mugisha Muntu of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) Party, Norbert Mao of the Democratic Party (DP), Henry Tumukunde (Independent), John Katumba (Independent), Joseph Kabuleta (Independent), Nancy Kalembe (Independent), Willy Mayambala (Independent) and Fred Mwesigye (Independent).

Why the Opinion Poll

Given the acrimonious scientific campaigns and the chaos that was unfolding nearly on a weekly basis and with less than 50 days left to the presidential elections, The Pepper Publications Ltd board late last month tasked the Editorial Department’s Pepper Intelligence Unit to carry out an opinion poll across the country in order to paint a picture for the readers about the electoral trends and how the various candidates were performing.

“The idea was that given that there were no visible opinion polling effort, we thought it wise to do one and help paint a ground picture for our readers and the country at large,” says Arinaitwe Rugyendo who is Company Board Secretary and also Director for Marketing and Digital Media at The Pepper Publications Ltd.

The poll lasted a period of three days from December 4th to December 6th with data collected simultaneously from across the rural and urban locations of 100 districts across the country.

Methodology and Research Question:

The Pepper Intelligence Unit team decided to adopt mixed methods with quantitative taking into consideration the issues of figures and qualitative research methodology in order to capture different opinions respondents have on their choices of candidates. Hence, a question was framed around who of the 11 presidential candidates respondents would vote for and why.

The Research Question was: “If you were to vote today, who you would vote for president of Uganda and why?”

Sampling Technique

The districts that formed the sample population were 100 out of 136 that existed at the time of the commencement of the survey, that is; December 4, 2020. The districts were picked from all the 14 sub regions of Uganda in order to achieve maximum national representation.

The 14 regions are Buganda, Busoga, Bukedi, Bugisu, Teso, Sebei, Karamoja, Lango, Acholi, West Nile, Albertine, Rwenzori, Ankole and Kigezi.

The districts that formed the sample population were initially grouped according to their regions and randomly selected using the lottery method where 100 districts were proportionately sampled from each of the regions to get proportional representation from the 14 regions of the country.

In all, 10,000 respondents were targeted and each of the 100 districts was allocated 100 respondents. 50% of these came from the urban area and the other 50% strictly from a rural area of the sampled district. Respondents were categorized under four variables of Age, Gender, Location (i.e Urban and Rural) and Reason for the choice proportionately balancing between male and female.

Data Collection:

Our data collectors spread across were able to obtain data using the interview method guided by a questionnaire. They randomly picked on respondents who freely answered the research question and gave their opinions as to why they preferred certain candidates over the others for president. Throughout the data collection process, due consideration was given to Ethics, a key hallmark of the survey. For example, respondents were told not to reveal their identities in order for them to freely express their opinion about the choices of their favourite candidates. Their pictures and voices were not captured to respect their anonymity and privacy. Raw data was captured from 9,919 respondents registering a 99% success giving the entire process a margin of error of +/- 1%. This data was then transmitted via email to a central receiver at The Pepper Publications Ltd by 14 regional coordinators for analysis.

Data Analysis:

Raw data was analyzed using the tabulation method based on age, gender, choice and reason in order to ascertain how the candidates stood along these variables.

The results:

The purpose of this story is to reveal the national summary of what each candidate has polled from their aggregate ‘votes’ obtained from 100 districts of Uganda. The subsequent stories in this week’s coming editions will show in detail how each candidate fared in the four major regions of Western, Central, Eastern and Northern that represent the 14 sub-regions.

Overall, Candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni polled 5,858 votes out of 9,919 respondents making him the leading candidate so far at 59%.

The following table shows the national average performance of each candidate.

Yoweri K. Museveni5,85259%
Robert Kyagulanyi S.1,99420%
Mugisha Muntu G.5966%
Patrick Amuriat Oboi5956%
Norbert Mao2082%
Henry Tumukunde2042%
John Katumba2022%
Joseph Kabuleta991%
Nancy Kalembe561%
Willy Mayambala280%
Fred Mwesigye210%


First, from the above table and the regional figures that we will publish in the subsequent editions, Candidate Museveni was in the lead at the time of this poll. What this implies is that he would have become president if the elections had been held in the first week of this month.

Second, in the subsequent editions, the regional figures however show Museveni’s popularity has slightly waned in Busoga, Bugisu, West Nile and Sebei sub regions of Uganda for reasons that respondents were able to articulate so well and vividly. The subsequent editions will bring this realty to the fore.

Third, being the incumbent who has ruled the country for 35 years, President Museveni remains the focus not only by this research but by the entire country including those wrestling the presidency from him. From the regional figures again, there is evidence to show he has, however, gained significant ground in Teso, Bukedi, Acholi, Lango and Albertine sub regions.

Fourth, Candidate Museveni has maintained his grip on Western Uganda sub regions of Nkore, Kigezi, and Rwenzori, Buganda sub-regions and the north eastern sub region of Karamoja.

Fifth, the survey has shown that Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi is the most serious contender to the throne having gained some ground away from Museveni in his former bases of Busoga, Sebei and Bugisu with a strong showing among the youth.

Today’s story is purposed to announce the results from the national survey summary and the methodology used. Over the next three days, Pepper Intelligence Unit will reveal in much more detail about key findings and candidates’ performance in each region across the four variables, the key electoral issues that emerged during the poling period that the candidates might want to pay attention to improve their electoral chances, methodological challenges and recommendations.

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Note: This is a survey that was only carried out in three quarters of the country and is in no way conclusive to paint the exact picture on the ground. Since two weeks ago, a lot has happened that might have altered this reality. Continuous polling and interrogation of the political dynamics of this highly contested election will be among the number of recommendations we shall give in the subsequent editions.

Coming up tomorrow: How the West and Central regions performed!

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