Who South Africans would vote for if elections were held tomorrow

 ·8 Sep 2021

Survey results from market research firm Ipsos point to a loss in support for South Africa’s biggest political parties since the last municipal elections.

The well-established trend of voter apathy is also once again present, the survey shows, with little over 71% of the survey respondents actually interested in turning up to vote on the day.

According to Ipsos, South Africa’s 2021 municipal elections have had to cross several hurdles, the least of which was the failed attempt to have the elections postponed to a later date.

With the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) now forced to ensure the elections proceed at some point between 27 October and 1 November 2021, parties and officials have very little time to prepare.

“As there are 278 municipalities in South Africa, this essentially means that everything necessary to successfully organise and implement 278 mini-elections should be done in less than two months,” it said.

Political parties have managed very little campaigning and rallying due to the restrictions on gatherings under the Covid-19 national state of disaster. This is also expected to have an impact on voter turnout.

“In both the 2016 local government elections and the 2019 national and provincial elections, voter turnout was down from previous elections,” Ipsos said. “Traditionally the voter turnout in local government elections is lower compared to national and provincial elections.”

The results

Ipsos polled 1,501 randomly selected South Africans aged between 18 to 75 years in mid-August – a sample that is representative of the 96% of South Africans who have access to mobile phones.

The survey results showed a massive drop in support for the ANC when considering the raw numbers. Only 34.9% of respondents said they would support the party in the coming elections.

Further still, the results showed a steady decline in support for the ANC in Ipsos polls involving the total population eligible to vote since after the previous National Election in May 2019.

Following the trend across three Ipsos studies since 2019, the ANC’s support has dropped significantly over time.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) support stayed relatively constant – however, neither of these parties were threatening the position of the ANC as the most popular party in the country, Ipsos said.

However, the raw results aren’t reflective of how things could go at voting booths on the day. When these respondents were asked who they would vote for “if the elections were held tomorrow”, the ANC still drew the largest chunk of support.

Countrywide almost half (49.3%) would draw a cross next to the name of the ANC, while the support for both the DA (17.9%) and the EFF (14.5%) respectively, is also in double figures.

Notably, this would represent a loss in support for the ANC and DA – who received 55.65% and 24.57% of the vote in 2016, respectively – and a large gain for the EFF, which received 8.31% in the prior elections.

“South Africa has a plethora of registered political parties, but very few of them currently garners more than one percent of support,” Ipsos said.

“South Africa has a plethora of registered political parties, but very few of them currently garners more than one percent of support,” Ipsos said.

Read: IEC re-opens voter and candidate registration for 2021 elections

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