Election poll predicts controversial 11% drop in ANC support

A poll conducted by the Institute for Race Relations predicts that on a 71.9% turnout scenario, the ANC will get 51% of the national vote in the elections - compared with 62.15% in 2014.
A poll conducted by the Institute for Race Relations predicts that on a 71.9% turnout scenario, the ANC will get 51% of the national vote in the elections - compared with 62.15% in 2014.
Image: Biju BORO / AFP

A poll conducted by the SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) predicts a massive drop in national support for the ruling ANC and spells trouble for the DA in the Western Cape.

On a 71.9% turnout scenario, the ANC will get 51% of the national vote in the general elections on May 8, the IRR poll states - compared with 62.15% in 2014.

But the pollsters have been swiftly criticised by observers.

Economic analyst Russell Lamberti commented: "IRR poll quite a bombshell - almost too much to believe ... Gotta say that the plummet in the ANC numbers in the IRR poll has to raise serious sampling questions. Big test for IRR polling cred now."

Political commentator Dawie Scholtz said the IRR poll prediction was an "insanely low number" for the ANC and "can only happen if there's an ANC collapse in the black electorate".

Scholtz predicted that, based on all historic voting patterns and by-election results, "this looks like a 55-60 election for the ANC".

He expects the result to be known on a day after the general elections, on May 9, at about 2am.

The IRR's 2019 April election poll forecasts:

National ballot: ANC majority in the balance, EFF continues to grow, DA stable

  • The ANC currently stands on 49.5% nationally, down 5.2 percentage points from February (54.7%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 51%. On a 69.3% turnout scenario, it increases to 50%.
  • The DA currently stands on 21.3% nationally, down 0.5 percentage points from February (21.8%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 24%. On a 69.3% turnout scenario, it also increases to 24%.
  • The EFF currently stands on 14.9% nationally, up 2.7 percentage points from February (12.2%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party decreases to 14%. On a 69.3% turnout scenario, it also decreases to 14%.2.

Gauteng provincial ballot: ANC well below a majority, significant DA growth on low turnout

  • The ANC currently stands on 42.8% on the provincial ballot, up 1.2 percentage points from February (41.6%). On a 70.4% turnout scenario, support for the party decreases to 39%. On a 67.7% turnout scenario, it also decreases to 39%.
  • The DA currently stands on 31.9% on the provincial ballot, down 0.5 percentage points from February (32.4%). On a 70.4% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 39%. On a 67.7% turnout scenario, it increases to 40%.
  • The EFF currently stands on 13.0% on the provincial ballot, down 5.2 percentage points from February (18.2%). On a 70.4% turnout scenario, support for the party decreases to 12%. On a 67.7% turnout scenario, it also decreases to 12.3%.

Western Cape provincial ballot: DA majority under threat, ANC declines, ACDP/EFF growth

  • The DA currently stands on 44.6% on the provincial ballot, down 5.5 percentage points from February (50.1%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 50%. On a 69.1% turnout scenario, it increases to 51%.
  • The ANC currently stands on 27.8% on the provincial ballot, down 6.1 percentage points from February (33.9%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 29%. On a 69.1% turnout scenario, it increases to 28%.
  • The ACDP currently stands on 7.0% on the provincial ballot, up 3.5 percentage points from February (3.5%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party stays at 7%. On a 69.1% turnout scenario, it also stays at 7%.
  • The EFF currently stands on 6.8% on the provincial ballot, up 5.8 percentage points from February (1.0%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party decreases to 5%. On a 69.1% turnout scenario, it also decreases to 5%. 

The poll is based on a sample of 2,375 registered voters from April 18-25, 2019. This is the fourth IRR survey of the electoral landscape, to supplement surveys carried out in September 2018, December 2018 and February 2019.

In its analysis of the poll, the IRR said: “Leading up to December, on the back of Cyril Ramaphosa’s election, the ANC had managed to consolidate much of the support it had lost under Jacob Zuma. That renewal was built on two pillars, exemplified by Ramaphosa: Good governance and a tough stance on corruption.

"But a combination of factors - primarily load-shedding and revelations before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry - directly undermined that offer. Over April, these were compounded by a weak election campaign, which appears bereft of both inspiration and impact, the ANC was thus unable to hold onto those alienated voters it had won back up to December, and they returned to the EFF in April. As a result of this, the ANC also lost the differential advantage it enjoyed over smaller parties in December.

"The ANC can still win back some of this lost support, these voters are fluid; it will need a powerful closing (final stretch) on the campaign trail."

On the EFF, the IRR said the party had lost some support in Gauteng from February (although still up from 2014) but grew in other places. The IRR poll puts it on 8.9% in the Western Cape in April and, in December, on 10.3% in KwaZulu-Natal (both on the national ballot). Both these numbers represent significant growth from 2014 (2.3% and 1.8% in those two provinces respectively).

Coalitions are possible in both the current ANC-administered Gauteng and the DA-run Western Cape after the elections, says the IRR.

On Gauteng voting, the IRR poll puts the ANC on 42.8%, significantly below the majority it held in 2014 (53.6%). "However, lower turnout appears to favour the DA. In April, on a 67.7% turnout, ANC support dropped to 39%. In fact, on that turnout scenario, for the first time, support for the DA surpasses the ANC in the province, and climbs to 40%," said the IRR. The DA's baseline support is measured at 31.9% in April. Support for the EFF is Gauteng is seen as 13%, an increase from where it stood in 2014 (10.3%).

Based on the April poll, the IRR said: "The possibility of no party securing an outright majority in Gauteng on the provincial ballot remains very real, and a coalition scenario, post-election, is most likely."

Commenting on the Western Cape, the IRR analysis states that in the April polling, the DA's baseline support level has dropped significantly, to 44.6% on the provincial ballot. "But that decline is exceeded by the decline in ANC support in the province," seen at 27.8%.

"The loss of support for both the DA and the ANC in the Western Cape can be ascribed to growth of smaller parties."

The ACDP support is seen at 7%, the EFF at 6.8% and the Good Movement at 2.8%.

The IRR states: "There is a chance of a coalition scenario in Western Cape, post-election."


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