The latest pre-election poll results from research firm Markdata show that South Africa’s political landscape is shifting, with major parties losing support to the rising EFF.
Markdata used a nationally representative sample of around 3,500 people to poll political alignment and sentiment around the country ahead of the 2019 elections.
It followed up with focus groups in all major metros.
Speaking on eNCA’s The Race, political analyst RW Johnson said that the 2019 election is a landmark because of two key points – the first being that South Africa is in its 25th year of democracy with the ANC in power, and the second being that the country is is a period of “tremendous national crisis”.
“The focus groups found that there was a very low state of morale in all racial groups across the country. This is a difficult time for a lot of South Africans, so it’s not surprising that the political system is showing strain,” he said.
According to Markdata’s findings, despite this sentiment, the ANC still emerges as the top party with a 59% share of the poll in terms of total support.
The DA emerges with 21.3% and the EFF with 12.1%.
Among registered voters, the picture changes slightly, with ANC voters capturing 60.6% of the vote, the DA dropping to 20.3% and the EFF to 11.5%.
Johnson said that poll results point to two really notable trends: the DA, which has effectively seen its support base grow in every election since its formation now appears to be going backwards – losing almost 2%.
The EFF, meanwhile, has almost doubled its support since the 2014 elections where it secured 6.4% of the vote.
The Markdata poll reflects the same pattern seen in every other election poll held since late 2018, with the ANC’s and DA’s total support dropping below the 2014 results of 62.2% and 22%, respectively, and the EFF increasing its vote.
Of concern – something that has been raised by IEC itself – is a drop in voter registrations among the youth (18-29), which is leading to expectations of relatively low voter turnout on election day.
“People are registering less…but there is also apathy that has to do with low morale,” Johnson said.
While pre-election polls do not predict the outcome of an election, they provide a snapshot for the views and sentiment towards political parties and the country at any given point in time.
South Africans will go to the polls on 8 May 2019.