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Support for South Africa's ANC Dips Below 50% Ahead of Elections, Ipsos Poll Finds

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louis Buyisiwe

Apr 26, 2024

Economic and Social Issues Impacting Voter Decisions

President Cyril Ramaphosa seeks re-election, followed by John Steenhuisen of the Democratic Alliance, and Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters wraps up the trio

With South Africa's general election looming on May 29, the latest Ipsos opinion poll reveals a significant drop in support for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), now hovering around 40%. This development marks a pivotal moment that could lead to the most significant political shift since the end of apartheid.

Although the ANC remains the frontrunner, its current polling figures suggest it may fall short of the 50% threshold required to govern alone. Such an outcome would necessitate forming a coalition government for the first time since Nelson Mandela led the party to victory three decades ago.

"The nation's sentiment mirrors the apprehension of the first democratic elections of April 27, 1994," Ipsos noted, underscoring the weight of the upcoming elections, which not only include the national parliament vote but also the provincial legislatures that will subsequently elect the president. Incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa is campaigning for a second term amidst these challenging conditions.

The Ipsos poll, conducted through face-to-face interviews with 2,545 registered voters across all nine provinces in March and April, shows a slight decrease in ANC support from 40.5% in February to 40.2%. This poll has a margin of error of 1.9% at a 95% confidence level.

In contrast, support for the Democratic Alliance (DA), the ANC’s closest competitor, has increased to 21.9% from 20.5%. Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) saw their support decline to 11.5%, possibly affected by the new political party, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), which garnered 8.4% and is backed by former President Jacob Z

Voter discontent appears to be rising, influenced by persistent issues such as unemployment, corruption, crime, and inadequate public services. These factors could play a crucial role in the upcoming election, potentially reshaping South Africa's political landscape.

The ANC aims to reinforce its achievements since the apartheid era as part of its campaign strategy. However, the party faces the prospect of having to collaborate with other political entities, including the economically liberal DA and the far-left Marxist EFF, both of which have expressed openness to a coalition.

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