Any pollster worth their salt would question whether the Afrobarometer poll consists of both unregistered and registered voters because you need to confine any poll relating to electoral outcomes to people eligible to vote.
Furthermore, opinion formers and media houses need to question the methodology and weighting formula applied, the turnout modelling used and whether this was factored into the overall results and why were “undecideds”, “won’t says” and “refused” not allocated. These are the basic tenets of a credible poll. An entity that cannot reveal their own methodology raises serious questions about the credibility of their results.
In addition, it is important to reflect on how badly Afrobarometer have got it wrong in the past. In 2011, they had the DA at 13% and the party polled at 24%. In 2016, they had the DA at 17% and the party polled at 27%. Also worth noting is that Afrobarometer’s results bear no resemblance to recent by-elections results and trends across the country.
As we have seen with Ipsos, it is vital that media publications learn to interrogate the methodology of public polling and look at the past results of organisations, comparing their polling results to actual election results. Media should also compare polling results to by-election results and trends. Enough by-elections now take place that generate sufficient data to analyse trends.
It is, as ever, important to note that a poll, no matter how accurate it may be, can only be a snapshot in time. Trends are what count in the lead-up to elections and trends emerging from both by-election and more credible public polls cast a vastly different picture to what Afrobarometer sets out.
The DA remains on track to grow its share of the national vote, retain the Western Cape and bring the ANC below 50% in both the Northern Cape and Gauteng.
As often stated, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. Where actual voters cast their votes. And any decent market research would show that South Africans are craving change that builds One South Africa for All. Change that stops corruption. Change that creates fair access to jobs. Change that keeps South Africans safe.
Looking across the political landscape, the DA is the only party that has a plan to bring about change and the credibility to demonstrate what we have done where we govern.
We inherited unprecedented levels of corruption and systemic mismanagement in the City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
However, we turned the financial situation of these metros around and focused on speeding up the provision of basic services. South Africans will judge the DA on our record in government and our commitment to rooting out corruption and this is the reason why we are only political party that has grown in every election since 1994. DM
Jonathan Moakes is DA 2019 National Elections Campaign Manager.