The Zambian Election Panel Survey (ZEPS)
The 2021 election is a crucial test for Zambian democracy. Potentials for further democratic erosion, a decline in meaningful participation, and prospects for election-related violence have increased concerns about democracy in Zambia among both local and international stakeholders. However, the tenuous situation in Zambia presents an opportunity to interrogate long-held assumptions about democracy in Africa. Accordingly, policymakers, development specialists, and academics of democratization, governance, and electoral systems have needed to speculate on the impacts of socio-political institutions, public perceptions, and crises on election cycles.
Using the Zambia Election Panel Survey (ZEPS), a first-of-its-kind, multistage voter panel survey, this research focuses on democracy and institutions, political campaigns and voter choice, and COVID-19 and political participation. Further, ZEPS aims to uncover changes in Zambian public opinion throughout the electoral campaign and beyond. Using appropriate panel data, ZEPS is a first attempt to study how electoral experiences, institutional performance, and political campaigns shape public opinion.
ZEPS is a collaborative research project spearheaded by an international group of experts on democracy and governance research, electoral systems, and survey methodology in Zambia and beyond. The co-investigators are Ellen Lust (University of Gothenburg), Jeremy Seekings (University of Cape Town), Michael Wahman (Michigan State University), Nicole Beardsworth (University of the Witwatersrand), and Matthias Krönke (University of Cape Town).
This data collection was supported by the University of Cape Town and Swedish Research Council Recruitment Grant (Swedish Research Council – E0003801), PI: Pam Fredman. We thank Ubuntu Research and Rural Development Company Ltd. for implementing the survey, Dr. Erica Ann Metheney, and Kirk Ammerman for data collection support, Rose Shaber-Twedt, Dalila Sabanic, and Julie Nadler Visser for administrative support.