According to a recent poll that was compiled by the South African Institute of Race Relations, in collaboration with Victory Research, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has grown its support base, compared to the numbers they pulled in the 2014 general elections.
IRR voter survey: Methodology and accuracy of the data
Qualitative data was collected from 978 subjects (all of whom were registered voters) between 22 August and 2 September 2018.
According to the IRR, the results of the research was not a prediction, but more of a snapshot in time.
The purpose of the poll was to assess “voter preferences, attitudes and the South African political landscape.”
It observed the competence of political parties on a national scale, party favourability, the contestation of the coveted Gauteng region and the relevance of land as a priority.
“The numbers presented in the poll are not absolutely definitive. A 3% margin of error means, for example, the DA – which comes out with 23% – could be on 20% or 26%.
“And, because the sample for Gauteng is smaller, thus with a 6% margin of error, the possible spread for each party is bigger,” the IRR noted in the report.
Poll shows EFF support base grew by 7%
One of the more interesting interpretations of the data showed a marked increase in support for the EFF, specifically in the Gauteng region.
Although, responding to the question, “if a national election was taking place today, which party would you vote for?“, 52% of all voters chose the African National Congress (ANC).
Compared to the actual results of the 2014 general elections, this saw a 10% decrease in support.
The EFF, on the other hand, only managed to scrape 13# of the support. Julius Malema would disagree with the data but as compared to 2014, this showed that support, on a national scale, has increased by 7%.
“A significant increase in support for the EFF, more than double its 2014 election result of 7%. That increase has come from the ANC, down significantly from its 2014 election result of 62%. The DA remains stable, fractionally up from its 2014 result of 22%,” the IRR stated.
Gauteng a key swing province, red berets breeding ground
The data also showed that the red berets enjoyed the second biggest share of the spoils in black voter support with 16%, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) only managed to scrape 10%.
The blues did, however, attracted the largest share of minority voters, with a staggering 71%, while the EFF only accrued a meagre 1%.
Gauteng is one of the most important key swing provinces. Since the province is South Africa’s most populous, political parties are likely to mark this as a hot environment for campaigning.
Therefore, according to the data, the ANC would still enjoy majority rule, if elections were to be held tomorrow.
A significant indicator one should note, though, is the EFF’s increased support in the region.
The poll suggests that the growth in support for the red berets in Gauteng is likely to impact the party’s improved performance at the polls in May.
“The poll found no one party held a majority in Gauteng. In turn, it found that the base of the EFF’s support comes from Gauteng.
“The province is South Africa’s most populous and the 17% the EFF has secured in Gauteng will have gone some considerable way towards driving up its national percentage of the vote, to 13%,” the IRR added.
“Land reform is not a top priority” – IRR poll
The poll also found that land reform was not the most pressing priority for South Africans. As little as 6% of the subjects identified this as a matter of great importance.
Jobs and unemployment, as expected, received the largest share of the votes with 47% of the subjects indicating that this was South Africa’s biggest issue.
The IRR concluded its findings by noting the perceived increase in support the EFF has garnered over the years. It pointed at the ANC as the reason for this.
“Its support has come at the expense of the ANC, which is at 52%. However, its support is fragile: if turnout drops, EFF support drops in turn, while the DA’s support increases from 23% to 27%,” the IRR explained.