News24 01 May 2019

As the countdown to the May 8 polls begins, the Gauteng ANC’s latest internal research indicates the party is on track to retain the province with 56% of the provincial ballot.

This is according to Professor David Everatt, the head of the school of governance at the University of the Witwatersrand, who has been conducting research for the governing party since the 1994 general elections.

Everatt told journalists the party previously polled 3 151 people last year, when indications were at 54%. Its latest results, which involve polling 1 826 people, show a 2% increase.

The professor said that, as part of the poll, face-to-face interviews were conducted with people in their own homes and in their own languages.

Some of the findings showed that half of the voters polled in Gauteng were “floating voters” and this meant they were not necessarily loyal to any party.

“The ANC’s appeal to the white vote dropped from 7% in 2018 to 3% in 2019,” said Everatt.

Ramaphosa carrying ANC

This is in spite of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s growing popularity in the white community. He is believed to be polling ahead of the party, much like former president Nelson Mandela, who also led the movement.

Everatt said Madiba, as Mandela was fondly known, and Ramaphosa, are the only two ANC leaders who have had to carry the party.

The ANC’s internal poll puts the DA in second position at 17% – a drastic drop from the party’s 22.28% share of the votes in 2014 – while it predicts the EFF will grow from 6% to 11%.

In supporting the findings, the ANC’s provincial head of elections Lebogang Maile said Everatt was trusted and that the party had absolute confidence in his research.

“He told us we weren’t going to do well in 2016. We went in knowing,” Maile said about the watershed local government election in which the party in Gauteng lost control of the Tshwane and Johannesburg metros, and only held onto Ekurhuleni through a coalition government.

The ANC’s poll comes hot on the heels of research from Ipsos and the Institute of Race Relations (IRR). The latter used the phone to poll citizens.

Earlier, the IRR released its latest results which showed that the ANC was losing more support in Gauteng, while the DA’s hold of the Western Cape was under threat and the EFF was the only party that was growing in the country.

City Press reported over the weekend that the Ipsos study from March and April showed that a lack of trust in the DA and EFF had deepened, while the electorate’s trust in the ANC grew from 11% last year to 29%. But it also predicted the governing party would dip back to 56% from 61%, which it had polled at previously.

Maile said the province’s election campaign and strategies, like other provinces, were developed at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters.

He said the provincial team he leads was happy and was warmly received wherever they went, even by those who raised concerns about the state of the party and some of the challenges and failures the party had.

“We are certainly confident that we will retain Gauteng with an overwhelming majority,” said Maile, who predicted the ANC in Gauteng would better its 2014 results of 53.5%.

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