ANC on the brink? IRR polling shows massive decline from 2014
It stands to lose outright majorities in Gauteng and KZN, depending on how many people show up to vote
Just five years ago, the ANC won more than 62% of the vote, and every single province bar the DA-controlled Western Cape.
But now the ruling party stands on the brink of its worst performance in an election since the first democratic vote in 1994.
According to latest polling on electoral outcomes published by the SA Institute of Race Relations, the ANC could get 53% of the national vote this week, depending on campaigning in the final days before the election and voter turnout, and taking into account the margin of error.
The IRR’s research, published on Monday, shows that the governing party could drop from the 62.15% it won in the national ballot in May 2014 to just 53% in these elections – provided voter turnout is 70%, which the IRR says is the most realistic turnout scenario for election day.
If the voter turnout is 74.6% – which the institute says is within the “2014 parameters” – the ANC may get 54%.
The IRR determined the 2014 parameters by calculating the turnout rate per race group in 2014 and applying those to this survey’s samples.
This would be the poorest performance by the ANC since 1994. It has previously attained overwhelming majority, upwards of 60%, in the national ballot, although its popularity has been gradually declining.
Only seven days ago, the IRR put the ANC at 49.5% nationally, saying that on a 71.9% turnout scenario support for the party would increase to 51%.
The IRR’s survey was conducted in the field between April 27 and May 4. The institute said it was structured as a tracking poll, using a five-day moving average. It covered the national ballot, as well as the provincial ballot in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, said Gareth van Onselen, the IRR’s head of politics and governance.
“This is the most fluid national election to date, in particular with regards to the ANC and EFF, who have traded support one way and the other among around 5% to 8% of black voters since September,” Van Onselen said.
Gauteng is set to be the battleground of this election if the survey is anything to go by. It shows that in this provincial ballot the ANC was at 41% on Saturday (the last day of its research) if the turnout was 71.1%, which the researchers say is the most realistic turnout scenario. The party’s chances would improve by 1% if the turnout was at 75.1%, as it was in the province in 2014.
The Democratic Alliance, which is gunning to wrest Gauteng from the ANC, stands at 33% in the first scenario and 31% if the 2014 turnout figures are retained.
With the help of the EFF (14%) and other smaller political parties, the DA could indeed take over the governance of the country’s economic hub – just as it did the Tshwane and Johannesburg metros in the 2016 local government elections. Only a large last-minute surge from the ANC voters would save the province from a hung result.
But perhaps the IRR survey’s most shocking finding is in KZN, where polling indicates the ANC may dip below 50% – 48% or 49% at a 76.5% turnout. This would be a whopping 15 percentage point decline from the 64.52% the party won five years ago. The KZN margin of error is quite high, at 6%.
If the study is anything to go by, the DA may almost double its vote to 23% from 12.7% in 2014, while the EFF may grow sixfold from 1.8% five years ago to 13%.
The ANC struggled to win a majority vote in KZN until the rise of Jacob Zuma in 2009.
The IRR’s polling also indicates that the DA may comfortably hold on to the Western Cape (57%), despite its recent difficulties in the province. DA insiders have previously said the party’s internal polling showed that its disgruntled supporters could take their votes to parties such as the Freedom Front Plus and the ACDP.
Van Onselen said the survey was not a prediction and that it was not possible to precisely predict the election result.
“We are, however, confident our data is accurate for the period under review. Thus, all this survey can tell you is the nature of the electoral market in the week preceding the election, and suggest where some of the trend lines are headed with four days to go until the election.
“As you will see, there is some fluidity in the market, and the last few days will likely see some small movement. If history is a guide, it will be towards the bigger parties. From these numbers, anyone can draw a prediction should they wish,” he said.