South Africa 2016 election results: the predictions vs the outcome

For two months ahead of the 2016 elections, eNCA and research group Ipsos ran eight election polls and one final poll to determine a likely outcome for the 2016 vote.

The poll consistently showed the Democratic Alliance giving the ANC a run for its money in three major metros – Tshwane, City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay – with the final outcome predicted to be a win for the party in the latter-most region.

The polls faced some criticism, however, with analysts questioning its accuracy (particularly around its sampling and margin of error), saying that the DA’s strength was being over-stated, while the ANC’s support base was being underestimated.

Ultimately, the critics were proved wrong, with the final vote tally showing results remarkably close to the predictions – particularly in the national outcome.

Ipsos predicted that the DA would win one metro (Nelson Mandela Bay) narrowly losing Tshwane and Johannesburg to the ANC. In the end, the ANC’s strength in Tshwane was overestimated, with the party’s support base staying at home rather than voting, leading to a DA lead.

In Johannesburg, the EFF was underestimated, being the only party to achieve a higher result than predicted – while the DA and ANC both under-performed. However, the ANC’s 6.2 point lead over the DA was bigger than the 5 point lead predicted by Ipsos.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, both the ANC and the DA performed better than expected, but in the end, the DA still came out on top as predicted.

Nationally, Ipsos practically hit the nail on the proverbial head, with the point differences between predictions and outcome not extending beyond a full percentage point.

The table below shows the predicted outcome in the metros compared to the final result.

Party 2016 Prediction 2016 result Pt difference
City of Tshwane ANC 47.0%  41.2% 5.8
DA 43.0%  43.1% 0.1
EFF 9.0%  11.7% 2.7
City of Johannesburg ANC 46.0%  44.6% 1.4
DA 41.0%  38.4% 2.6
EFF 8.0%  11.1% 3.1
Nelson Mandela Bay ANC 37.0%  40.9% 3.9
DA 44.0%  46.7% 2.7
EFF 6.0%  5.1% 0.9
National result ANC 54.0% 53.9% 0.1
DA 26.0% 26.9% 0.9
EFF 8.0% 8.2% 0.2

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We will be gracious in defeat if we lose Nelson Mandela Bay – ANC

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South Africa 2016 election results: the predictions vs the outcome