2019 Election Poll

Citizens Survey poll shows ANC, DA down, EFF up – but with an uncertain voter turn-out

By Jonah Dylan 23 April 2019
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(Photo: Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)

The 2019 Q1 South African Citizens Survey findings, released on Tuesday morning, show a decrease in support for the ANC, yet another drop in trust for Eskom, and an all-time high number of unmotivated voters.

The ANC is expected to earn 61% of the votes in the upcoming 8 May election, a 2019 Q1 South African Citizens Survey report released on Tuesday indicates.

The DA is placed at 19%, while the EFF comes in at 11%. The results are based off an expected turn-out of 77%, which is slightly higher than the turnout rate in the 2014 elections, which was at about 73%. The 77% number would represent about 20-million people, but turn-out could drop even further in 2019.

The ANC’s support dropped slightly from the last survey when it had 63% support. The EFF picked up that support, climbing from 9% in February to its current mark of 11%.

Even with the drop, the ANC is still projected to have more support than in another poll, released on Monday by Markdata. That poll placed the ANC’s support at 59%, the DA at 21% while the EFF followed at 12%.

The Citizen Survey put other parties at 4%. Undecided voters made up 4% of the survey results.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga commenting on the outcome of the poll told Daily Maverick that he expects the ANC to gain less than 60 percent of the vote. He added that he expects the DA to outperform the 19 percent clip forecast in the survey results.

The DA is facing a serious challenge…I think they’re struggling no doubt. It’s one thing not to grow, but it’s quite another to actually lose votes. I see the DA losing votes as another extreme outcome, which is not impossible, but for me, it’s highly unlikely,” Mathekga said.

He agreed with the outcome of the poll for the EFF saying he expected the party to continue its “growth trajectory,” and earn near the 11 percent of votes forecast in the poll.

He said the undecided voters could be the reason for discrepancies between different polls because those votes will add to the percentage totals already laid out in the survey results.

According to the survey President Cyril Ramaphosa’s favourability rating has held steady despite commotion in his party, and currently sits at 57%, up from 55% at the end of 2018. DA leader Mmusi Maimane is at 28%, and EFF leader Julius Malema is right behind at 27%.

The survey also found that trust in Eskom has dropped massively in the first three months of 2019. Just 39% of respondents said they trust the company, down from 56% in January. This comes as the country has seen rolling blackouts and the parastatal declaring stage four load shedding for several consecutive days in March.

The survey results also painted a bleak picture of how South Africans perceive the direction of their country. A dismal 22% of respondents said the country is going in the right direction, down from 30% in January.

Finally, the survey found that the number of unmotivated voters in South Africa has reached an all-time high. Over 5-million registered voters – or about 19% – are unmotivated ahead of the upcoming election.

The ANC gained 62% of the vote in 2014, so a 61% clip would be nothing to scoff at for a party that has had to deal with all sorts of scandals since the last election.

If the poll is correct, the DA – which earned 22% of the vote in 2014 – will end up with less representation, while the EFF will build off the 6% support it earned in 2014.

The 8% decrease in the number of South Africans who believe the country is heading in the right direction – in comparison to January and February this year – shows the need for drastic action to be taken to reassure the South African public that socio-economic conditions can, and will, improve,” Reza Omar, Strategic Research Director at Citizen Surveys, said in statement.

The survey was conducted by Citizen Surveys and included data from 3,900 respondents across the country. Interviews are conducted face-to-face in seven different languages, and take place at urban, rural and metro sites in all provinces. The expected margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. DM

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