A new poll by market research firm Ipsos indicates that support for the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), is shrinking.
In the General Election in 2014, the ANC won 62% of the votes and in the Local Government Elections (2016), 54% of votes were cast for the party.
Indications from a new public opinion survey conducted in May this year showed this support could be even lower with less than half (47%) of South Africans indicating that they would vote for the ruling party if there were an election ‘tomorrow’.
This figure should, however, not be regarded as a prediction of the 2019 General Election, Ipsos warned, noting that it is simply too long before the time to start making predictions.
About a quarter (24%) have not chosen a particular political party. This can also be seen against the background of the 44% of South Africans who expressed the opinion in July 2016, just before the Local Government Elections, that there was no political party expressing their views.
“The feeling of alienation from political parties is thus very real,” Ipsos said.
The research firm pointed out that at the time of the Local Government Elections last year 26.3 million of the 36.8 million South Africans eligible to vote were registered with the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) as voters. However, only 15.3 million turned out to vote.
“With the DA and their partners taking over the administration of three metropolitan areas from the ANC after the Local Government Elections, there is also speculation that the opposition might win in more provinces than just the Western Cape,” Ipsos said.
However, results from the poll show that the ANC is still, by far, the strongest political party in the country. In four provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West the ANC achieves an outright majority.
In four others, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and the Northern Cape the ANC support is measured at below 50% – but the DA support in these provinces are not challenging the ruling party at the moment.
In the Western Cape, the ANC has the support of one in every five potential voters, while the DA achieves 47% in this province.
Regarding those who say that they “will not vote” or who are “not registered to vote” as they are not interested in politics and elections, this feeling is the strongest in the Eastern and Northern Cape.
Ipsos said those who “refused to answer” the question or said that they “don’t know” are not necessarily apathetic, but are still making up their minds about their political choices. This feeling is strongest in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, followed by Limpopo and North West.
“It is clear that political parties have a lot to do all over the country to convince voters to support them – and to turn out to vote in 2019,” said Ipsos.
The research firm tested the trust people place in political parties. Overall, the ANC enjoys the highest trust of the three biggest political parties, although the “trust score” for the ANC is scarcely above 50.
However, when one looks at the trust placed in each political party by their own supporters, the ANC does not do as well as the DA or EFF, Ipsos said.