ANC support hits an all-time low as voter apathy sets in — Ipsos survey

Low voter turnout predicted to benefit the DA most

South Africans will go to the local polls on Monday.
South Africans will go to the local polls on Monday.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Disillusionment and a belief that nothing will change, anger over corruption, distrust of politicians and overwhelming voter apathy — these are the reasons for a predicted low voter turnout and a massive drop in ANC support in Monday's local government elections.

Ipsos, the world’s third largest market research company, and TV news channel eNCA joined forces to carry out pre-election surveys. And this latest one, carried out on the eve of the election, has once again found that support for the governing ANC has dropped below 50%.

They carried out three waves of the study in October, and found that for the first time since the 1994 elections the ANC has shed a massive amount of support — having previously always garnered support indications well above 50%.

And this support is dropping fast — with a quarter of research respondents claiming they didn’t have a party of choice to vote for, rising to almost a third by the end of the month.

Ho party support tracked since 2016.
Ho party support tracked since 2016.
Image: eNCA/Ipsos

The research saw thousands of registered voters contacted and their views recorded via CATI (computer-assisted telephonic interviews).

Responses differed widely: some people said they would not be voting, some said they had no trust in politicians, some felt that voting would not lead to any kind of change and some just refused to answer the questions at all.

Possible scenarios for outcomes for the local government elections 2021.
Possible scenarios for outcomes for the local government elections 2021.
Image: eNCA/Ipsos

The research conclusion is that voter apathy is going to be an important variable in Monday’s elections with a low turnout likely to benefit the DA the most.

And new issues have arisen since the highly contested 2019 national and provincial elections. The Covid-19 pandemic, the slow pace of vaccinations, massive service delivery and governance challenges in the majority of municipalities, load-shedding and water supply issues and the rushed and shrunken election campaign all among them.

The ultimate finding of this latest research report: It is impossible to predict with certainty the outcome of these rather messy and unique elections.

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