ANC may hold onto majority in 2024, survey shows

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South Africa’s governing African National Congress has a chance of retaining its majority in national elections in 2024, according to a survey conducted by the Social Research Foundation.

The results of the survey of 3 204 registered voters in July contrasts with a slew of polls forecasting the party that led South Africa out of apartheid in 1994 will dip below 50% for the first time.

The survey, the full results of which are scheduled to be released in coming days, predicts that among likely voters the ANC could win as much as 52% of the vote if there is a 56% turnout of registered voters, a slide sent to Bloomberg shows. Ipsos, a polling company, earlier this month predicted the ANC would win 42% if an election were held this month and Rapport, an Afrikaans-language newspaper, gave the ANC 38% of the vote, citing internal an internal poll conducted by the ANC and other research.

A majority for the ANC, whose leaders have repeatedly warned that a drumbeat of corruption scandals and poor service delivery may cost it votes, would spare it from having to form its first coalition government.

Infighting between the myriad small parties that govern four of South Africa’s biggest cities in fractious coalitions may be bolstering the ANC, even after the ruling party hemorrhaged support in a number of by-elections. In municipal elections last year, the ANC got 45.6% of the vote, its worst showing ever.

Opposition squabbles

“The ANC is not currently campaigning and opposition coalition leaders are fighting each other,” said Frans Cronje, the former chief executive officer of the South African Institute of Race Relations, who now runs his own political advice firm and works with the Johannesburg-based SRF. “A result of 50%+ remains plausible for 2024.”

Still, the SRF said that if turnout were 66%, similar to the last national election in 2019 when the ANC won 57.5% of the vote, its share would slip to 50% among likely voters. Across all registered voters surveyed, irrespective of whether they are likely to cast a ballot, 47% said they support the ANC.

The Democratic Alliance, the biggest opposition party, would win 25% of the vote among likely voters across the scenarios considered by the SRF, while the Economic Freedom Fighters would win between 11% and 12%. Action South Africa, a new party that’s been formed since the last national elections, would win between 5% and 6%, the survey showed.

In the 2019 elections, the DA won 20.8% of the vote and the EFF 10.8%. The SRF’s survey has a 1.7% margin of error.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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