The latest election poll from the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) casts doubt on the ANC returning to power with a majority after the election next week.
The poll of 2,375 registered voters puts the ANC at 49,5% of the national vote, well below other polls showing a 56-59% vote for the ruling party.
Much depends on voter turnout. On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 51%. On a 69.3% turnout scenario, it increases to 50%.
The DA currently stands on 21.3% nationally, down 0.5 percentage points from February (21.8%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 24%. On a 69.3% turnout scenario, it also increases to 24%.
This contradicts an internal poll by the DA showing it will win between 24% and 26% of the national vote – and come within 6% of unseating the ANC in Gauteng, according to News24.
Gauteng is likely to be a hotly contested province, with the DA on 31,9% of the provincial vote – rising to 40% if the turnout hits 67,7%.
Support for the EFF in Gauteng appears to have waned since February, when a previous poll showed it winning 18%.
According to the IRR poll, the EFF currently stands on 14.9% nationally, up 2.7 percentage points from a previous poll taken in February (12.2%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party decreases to 14%. On a 69.3% turnout scenario, it also decreases to 14%.
This is consistent with several other polls which suggest a surge in support for the EFF, which has promised radical economic transformation, free education and state-ownership of land.
In the Western Cape, the IRR poll shows the DA on 44.6% on the provincial ballot, down 5.5 percentage points from February (50.1%). On a 71.9% turnout scenario, support for the party increases to 50%. On a 69.1% turnout scenario, it increases to 51%.
The ANC in the Western Cape stands to win 27,8% of the ballot, down 6,1 percentage points from February. The EFF is expected to win 6,8% of the Western Cape vote, and the ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) 7%.
“It is important to appreciate that this poll came out of the field with 14 days of the election period still to go,” says Gareth van Onselen, IRR head of Politics and Governance. “The last weeks of an election campaign are a critical period during which, historically, the bigger parties – particularly the ANC and DA – tend to consolidate their vote upwards, and the vote share of smaller parties declines, as their voters are pressured. This is still likely to happen. A second IRR April poll, to be published on May 6, will aim to determine the degree to which this trend plays itself out over the final weeks. This poll is not a prediction.”
The following table summarises the IRR poll findings.