By Eric Naki
The ANC’s national support base has dropped by a shocking 7.4% from the 2014 general elections and it could completely lose Gauteng province.
The latest survey on voter intentions in the May 8 general election shows the ANC could lose its majority, prompting the question if the ruling party will lose power sooner than expected, or whether the country is headed for a coalition government.
The latest poll by the SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has shown the ANC’s national support base has dropped by a shocking 7.4% from the 2014 general elections. It could completely lose Gauteng province to a coalition government.
According to the IRR study, the ruling party’s approval rating has plummeted by 1.3% to 54.7% since a December survey that put it at 56%.
What is even more shocking is that the ruling party has gone down 7.4% from 62.1% in 2014.
The IRR’s head of politics and governance, Gareth van Onselen, attributed the ANC support decrease “almost exclusively to the EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters]”.
He said: “The ANC and the EFF are locked in a battle between 5% and 10% of alienated black ANC voters.
“Where those voters end up on May 8 will go some way towards determining the fate of these two parties,” Van Onselen said.
“Initially and on the back of [former president] Jacob Zuma’s disastrous electoral impact, they had shifted almost entirely to the EFF,” he said. “The EFF appears to be the only opposition party able to make direct and significant inroads into the ANC’s support. The backbone of the EFF national support is to be found in Gauteng.”
Despite a recent ANC study indicating President Cyril Ramaphosa was more popular than his party, the IRR study showed that may not translate into votes for the ANC.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is now at 21.8% nationally, which is up from 18% in the IRR’s December study. The DA secured 22.2% of the vote in 2014.
According to the new study, Julius Malema’s EFF still has popular support and has increased its following by 5.9%, at 12.2% nationally, compared to 6.3% in 2014. This number was up 1.2% from December.
Interestingly, an IRR study conducted in mid-2018 put the EFF at 13%, an indication the new party is becoming a force to be reckoned with in South African politics.
The Gauteng province is teetering towards a hung parliament and rule by a coalition government as the DA and the EFF share 50.6% compared to the ANC’s 41.6%.
The ANC dropped 12% on 2014 while the study showed that both the DA at 32.4% and EFF at 18.2% have registered gains.
Should the survey results be realised, coalitions are likely to be formed between the DA, EFF and smaller parties on the one hand, or between the ANC and EFF on the other. But this will depend on post-election horse trading.
Van Onselen, in his analysis, supported this view saying: “All three big parties, ANC, DA and EFF, appear to be able to form a majority coalition. The ANC and EFF and the EFF and DA and even the ANC and DA,” he said.
The IRR said the DA’s support in the Western Cape was on a knife-edge at 50.1%, which represented a drop of 9.3% from 2014.
Several political analysts have claimed Patricia de Lille’s new Good party will steal coloured votes from the DA, something that could give the ANC a good chance of defeating the DA in the province. The ANC currently stands at 33.9%, 1% more than 2014.
The IRR said a breakdown of support by race indicated that the ANC has 96.2% black voters, 1.1% white, 2.2% coloured and 0.5% Indian, while the DA has 27.3% black, 36% white, 28% coloured and 8.6% Indian.