Is 'Ramaphoria' working? Poll puts ANC support at 60%

A new poll by market research firm Ipsos has the African National Congress polling at 60% support nationwide as at June 2018.

The ANC's 60% tally is two percentage points lower than the party's 2014 results, but 6% higher than its most recent 54% haul in the 2016 local government elections.

"Despite all the political turmoil, posturing, faction fights and uncertainty that was a feature of the South African political scene over the last year, the ANC is currently comfortably ahead in the race to next year’s general election," an Ipsos statement read on Tuesday.

Ipsos used a selected sample of 3 738 South Africans, who were interviewed in their homes using their chosen languages.

- See the poll

The ANC, DA and the EFF were the three most supported parties according to the sample, which covered the period from April 20 to June 7.

Beyond the ANC, the DA had a markedly lower 13% pull, while the EFF was polling at 7%.

"It is important to point out that these figures are not a prediction for the national election in 2019, as it is still a considerable time before the election and many events that will sway voting behaviour are bound to happen," Ipsos said. 

Also, in an election, only registered voters can participate and not all go to the polls, resulting in different scenarios, the firm said.

The figures coincide with President Cyril Ramaphosa's first few months in office, having been sworn in in early February after successfully ousting incumbent Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa's party has been buoyed by multiple inquiries into compromised state institutions, such as the South African Revenue Service, as well as the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, to begin in August.

DA internal battles

The ANC under Ramaphosa, however, has continued to be plagued by factional battles since then, playing out most notably in the run-up to provincial elective conferences.

The ANC's KwaZulu-Natal consultative conference, for instance, had to be called off last month after vocal supporters linked to Zuma protested their displeasure, even booing national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

READ: ANC KZN leaders sign agreement with disgruntled members

In North West, another tense power struggle between provincial and national leaders played out in the stalled resignation of former premier Supra Mahumapelo, who eventually resigned on May 23.

Ramaphosa's ANC though has been helped out by the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance's, internal battles.

A very public spat with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille since the end of 2017, a water crisis and multiple sackings of Western Cape mayors have put the party's internal troubles front and centre in the media.

READ: DA to appeal De Lille judgment

The DA's numbers, if consistent, would be a 9% decrease from its 2014 results, and a 14% decrease from its 2016 local government elections haul.

It has already lost between 9% and 17% in four by-elections in the Western Cape in 2018, News24 reported in May.

However, by-elections in other areas of the country saw the DA retaining similar support patterns as in the 2016 local elections, so their polling troubles could eventually prove to be regional.

ANC in clear lead

Ipsos said that, while the ANC was clearly in the lead, another question in their polling system showed it would not be plain sailing for the ruling party come the 2019 general elections.

"Reactions to the following statement, 'The future of the ANC is uncertain because of the leadership issues within the party', showed that more than half of South African voters (54%) 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' with the statement," Ipsos continued.

About six in every ten DA and EFF supporters agreed with the statement, but interestingly, just over half of ANC supporters also agreed. 

"In fact, the opinions expressed by supporters of different political parties are very similar. It is thus safe to conclude that the turmoil of the last few years made the ANC's position vulnerable."

'Trust index'

In terms of the poll's "trust index", ANC supporters trusted their party at a score of 78, up from 72 in November 2017.

DA supporters trusted their party with a score of 85, down from 87 in November 2017, while the EFF, in the same period, went up eight points to achieve a score of 89 from its own supporters.

In terms of provincial polling results, all results were similar to the nationwide averages, with the exception of the Western Cape.

The polling results showed 28% of respondents voting for the DA, while 26% would vote for the ANC.

The provincial polling average put the ANC at 58%, the DA at 13% and the EFF at 7%.

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