The latest election polls from the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and internal polling from the DA show that the ANC and biggest opposition party are gearing up for a heated battle for Gauteng in the 2019 elections.
While most polls outside the DA are showing an overall drop in support for the opposition on a national level, when zoning in on specific provinces, the data shows a much tighter race between it and the ANC.
The IRR’s latest poll, giving a snapshot of the electorate two weeks out from the 8 May election, differs from most, in that it shows national DA support at between 21% and 24%, depending on voter turnout.
The DA’s internal polling, meanwhile, reportedly gives the party a 24% to 26% range, nationally.
This is against the ANC’s national support range of 49.5% to 51% in the IRR poll, and 56% to 59% in the DA poll.
Polling in Gauteng reveals a much tighter battle.
According to the DA’s internal polling, as reported by News24, the party sees its share of the vote climbing from 34% to 38% – just six percentage points lower than the ANC which polled at 44% (down from 48%, previously).
The IRR’s polling data reflects much of the same scenario, with the ANC polling at 42.8% on the provincial ballot, compared to the DA which polled at 31.9% in the province.
However, the IRR noted that the fight for Gauteng between the DA and ANC could be quite evenly matched, depending on voter turnout.
In a scenario where 70% of registered voters turn up on 8 May to cast their ballots, both the ANC and DA could see an equal share at 39% of the vote, the IRR’s data showed.
In 2014, turnout in Gauteng on the provincial ballot was 73% – if this same scenario happens in 2019, the ANC tops the DA by only two percentage points (41% vs 39%).
If even fewer voters show up, things only get better for the DA.
The DA secured governance in both the Tshwane and City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipalities in the 2016 elections, and has seen its support base in the province grow over the years.
The party is pushing its premier candidate, former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, to take over control of the province in 2019.
Msimanga is pinning is campaigning on rooting out corruption, creating employment, and tackling the controversial e-tolling project, among other things.
Drop in ANC support
According to the IRR, support for the ANC has been dropping, nationally, on the back of numerous scandals.
“These include a series of damning revelations about the party’s secretary general, the continued detailing of various corrupt practices before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry, and a series of national service protests,” the IRR said.
The group also noted that the prospect of further load shedding still remains very real – and all these issues are compounded by a lacklustre ANC campaign.
“None of these factors, in and of themselves, are likely to have impacted definitively on the support for any one party – precedent suggests it takes much time for a single scandal or event to fully manifest in a change in voting behaviour – but collectively they are likely to have had some impact,” it said.
However, it has not been smooth sailing for the DA either, particularly in Gauteng, where the “shutdown” of Alexandra Township concerned both the ANC and DA directly.