2019 elections School's Democracy Week

2019 elections: Opinion poll pits Gauteng as most-contested province

Of the respondents that participated in the survey, only 52% indicated their loyalty to the ruling party.

2019 elections School's Democracy Week

In a recent opinion poll, commissioned by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), suggests that the Gauteng province will be led by a coalition government after the 2019 elections.

A critical factor contributes to this: the ANC’s loss of power means that there is no political party with a 51% majority in the province.

The IRR revealed that the ANC has lost 10% of its support base since the 2014 elections. Although the poll suggests that, overall the ANC should receive 52% of the votes, Gauteng will be a different case.

The Citizen reported that

in contrast, according to the survey, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) could double its support base to almost 13% nationally. The IRR survey – done telephonically with 981 respondents – said no party in Gauteng had more than 51% support.

IRR researcher, Gareth van Onselen said the study suggested the ANC suffered a national drop of 10% of the support the party enjoyed in 2014, when it won a 62% majority in the last election.

Read – 2019 Elections: Poll suggests EFF will double their voter numbers next year

Land issue will be the least of voters’ concerns in 2019 elections

Furthermore, Van Onselen warned that this observation should not be viewed in the same way for other provinces since Gauteng remains the largest in terms of population.

Of the respondents that participated in the survey, only 52% indicated their loyalty to the ruling party. That is one percentage point lower than the result the ANC achieved in the 2016 local government elections.

The land issue that is being heralded by most ANC leaders as a critical topic that affects many South Africans came out to be the least important concern for the respondents.

Read – Protesters tell government: “No land, no elections”

Mathekga: Be wary of IRR comments on land

Ralph Mathekga, a renowned political analyst, indicated that although the data was collected in an appropriate manner, the public ought to be wary of an organisation that has firmly been lobbying against land reform.

“I do agree that the ANC at the moment is experiencing a huge drop in support which may be benefitting the other parties, particularly the EFF”, he admitted.

Mathekga identified the commission of inquiry into state capture as one of the hindrances that have dented the position of the ANC as the leading party in polls.

Read – Public service job cuts: Unions threaten to hurt ANC at next year’s elections

He also indicated that the Democratic Alliance (DA) may have hurt itself with the internal squabbles and its lack of impact in issues related to race and land.

Van Onselen attributed the EFF’s rise to power to its ability to place itself at the centre of what voters cared of the most. This is something that other political leaders fail to achieve.

“The ANC and DA, to a degree, have failed to communicate their stance on what matters most to voters – the budget and the economy. This was the feeling of 40% of the respondents. Going back to 1994, the economy has always been the number one issue that voters cared about”, Van Onselen stated.