Image via Twitter, @EFF

2019 voter survey: EFF to capitalise on ANC losses in Gauteng

Recent voter survey shows potential growth for EFF in upcoming elections, at the expense of ANC.


Image via Twitter, @EFF

The recent Criterion Report published by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has identified the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as direct competition to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the upcoming May elections.

By gaining alienated and outlying voters, the EFF has managed to not only increase their current predicted voter preference in the upcoming May elections, but the growth of their voter support base in Gauteng also poses as direct competition to the ANC’s hold over the province.

How is the EFF challenging the ANC?

Gauteng, as the current main voter support base for the ANC has been in a general decline since 2014 – one year after the EFF was founded by Julius Malema and Shivambu in 2013. This decline (a 7.4% drop in voter support) is said to be largely contributed to by the EFF, who – since their inception – have increased their support by 5.9% since the 2014 election (1.2% up since December 2018). The IRR observed the following:

“The ANC and the EFF are locked in a battle for between 5% and 10% of alienated black ANC voters. Where those voters end up on 8 May will go some way towards determining the fate of these two parties. It is clear those 5% to 10% of alienated black ANC voters are fluid and have, to one degree or another, shifted between the ANC and EFF over the past five months.”

Over the course of 2018, a struggle for voters emerged. With the resignation of Jacob Zuma in February, the EFF’s support continued to increase to 13% by September 2018. Yet, the ANC countered this, and the EFF fell down to 11% in December, while the ANC increased to 56%. However, due to a peppering of bad press towards the years end (Bosasa and Stage 4 Load Shedding), the ANC is losing some it’s newly won supporters.

Where is the EFF strongest?

The basis of the EFF’s voter support is in Gauteng, where their up-and-coming status is cemented. The support for EFF in Gauteng has increased by 7.9%, standing at 18.2% on the provincial ballot, while the ANC is on 41.6%. If the ANC wishes to maintain their stronghold in Gauteng, they will have to regain the 12% of supporters they’ve lost since their voter preference of 53.6% in 2014.

This is important to note, as Gauteng has remained an ANC majority stronghold since their first national electoral win in 1994. Over the past few years, the ANC has struggled to retain various metros within Gauteng, but such a large-scale loss of voter support is unprecedented for the party. The IRR concludes:

“The EFF appears to be the only opposition party able to make direct and significant inroads into the ANC’s support.”

It is unclear whether the ANC will be able to reach their national electoral target of 60% by May 2019. Yet, with a few weeks left – and the ANC still to release their electoral candidates – there may still be time to implement campaign methods which could win over the undecided and alienated voters.