The ANC’s support in Gauteng stands at 50%, according to internal party research, leaving the upcoming general election wide open in South Africa’s economic heartland.
The Mail & Guardian has seen a survey conducted by independent researchers and academics for the party in the province, which included over 3 000 respondents with a 2% margin of error.
Support for the ANC in Gauteng in the last two elections declined significantly.
In 2014, support for the party dropped by over 10 percentage points to 53% and the party slipped below 50% in the 2016 local government election.
The research conducted in December 2018 shows that while low, the ANCs support ahead of the upcoming election is stronger than the same period ahead of the 2016 election.
Support for the party increased from 41% in 2016 to 50% in 2019 among registered voters.
Among all voters — registered and non-registered in the province — the party’s support stood at 46%. In a group of voters who are registered but do not vote, the party’s support stands at 54%.
This is in line with the ANC’s own analysis that its voter base has simply stayed away from the polls in the last two elections.
Unhappiness over e-tolls, the scandal around spending on former President Jacob Zuma’s private residence at Nkandla, corruption and the manner in which state owned entities were being run all led to the ANC in Gauteng bleeding support.
According to sources in the party, President Cyril Ramaphosa was the “winning ticket” for the party in the province and has proven popular even among minority groups in the province.
The survey showed that support for the ANC among minorities — Indians, coloureds and whites had doubled between 2016 and 2019.
The ANC’s support among Africans, however, remained below expectations and less than the pre-2009 era.
According to the survey, it stood at 64%, when ideally it should be well above 70%.
The ANC lost control of two metros in 2016 — Johannesburg and Tshwane. Majority of the province’s voters come from these municipalities along with Ekurhuleni.
An election outcome of less than 50% for the ANC in Gauteng would mean that the party would have to enter into a coalition to govern the province which contributes most to the SA’s gross domestic product.
The ANC’s survey however shows that about 70% of those polled believed that coalition governments were a “failure”, implying that the electorate did not have the appetite for such governing arrangements.