Most votes will not change party support – survey

2011-05-11 07:44

A survey conducted among 2 000 urban adults in mid-February suggests 73% of people would vote again for the same party in the upcoming local government elections, while 13% were undecided. This is according to TNS Research Surveys.

“This also suggests that, even among those who do plan to go to the polls, over an eighth in February were still to decide whilst a seventh represent the potential swing vote,” TNS spokesperson Neil Higgs said.

Among those who said that they did not plan to vote, 56% said that, if they did, they would not vote for the same party as before. “It seems from this that, if those not planning to vote could be persuaded to vote, the swings might be much larger,” Higgs said in a statement.

Even though claimed turn-out levels were likely to be overstated, the study suggested that turn-out in metropolitan areas would be highest in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and on the East Rand.

Voter turn-out would be lowest in Soweto, the Vaal Triangle/South Rand and East London.

The survey also showed that of those happy with their choice of political party in 2009 and who would vote for the same party, 89% claimed that they would vote on May 18.

This figure dropped to 43% percent among people unhappy with their previous vote, and who would change the party they voted for. “This is a clear indication that dissatisfaction with one’s previous party will be likely to be one of the causes of not voting on May 18.”

Service delivery was a part of this dissatisfaction. Higgs added that 56% of people planning to vote were not happy with the service delivery they received from their local municipality, but this rose to 67% among those not planning to vote.

He said it should be kept in mind that some parties had merged with others. “Indeed, it does appear, overall, that there are a large number of people lacking a political home at present.”

The study was conducted among 2 000 adults – 1 260 black, 385 white, 240 coloured and 115 Indian/Asian – in the seven major metropolitan areas.

“The studies use probability sampling techniques and are fully representative of the major metropolitan areas,” Higgs said.

The studies were conducted as part of TNS’s ongoing research into current social and political issues.

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