New poll hints that ANC’s electoral fortunes are dependent on Ramaphosa staying in charge

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
PHOTO: OJ Koloti, Gallo Images
  • The ANC’s electoral fortunes are disproportionately tied to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • This was the conclusion of researchers who conducted a poll among 3 200 registered voters.
  • Researchers also found that Ramaphosa would enjoy support should he establish a breakaway party.

Some recent polling shows that only 35% of current ANC voters would continue supporting the party without President Cyril Ramaphosa.

If Ramaphosa should establish a breakaway political party, 39% of these supporters would follow him, and 15% would support another party.

This is according to a recent poll conducted by the Social Research Foundation.

The Social Research Foundation is a think-tank focusing on public policy issues and the promotion of democracy.

The survey was conducted telephonically among a randomly selected and representative sample of 3 200 registered voters, and has a national margin of error of 1.7%.

In the report, researchers say the totals may not add up to 100% where respondents were unsure of their answers.

READ | SA in crisis and ruling party facing a complete meltdown, warns Archbishop Makgoba

Asked whether Ramaphosa’s leadership had improved South Africa’s state, 33% of respondents said "yes", while 18% of all voters (non-ANC members) did not agree.

Nearly half of respondents, who were ANC voters, agreed that Ramaphosa’s leadership was crucial for the party.

A total of 62% of ANC voters (respondents) agreed that Ramaphosa would succeed, and 49.1% believe that he would fail.

Ramaphosa is under immense pressure following the release of the report by an independent panel, which made damning findings against him in relation to the theft of $580 000 (R10 million) from his game farm, Phala Phala, in Limpopo.

The researchers came to the tentative conclusion that ANC voters were split down the middle on whether conditions in South Africa had improved after Ramaphosa became leader of the party.

"For just over half of ANC voters, Ramaphosa is an extremely important reason behind their continued support for the ANC.

"Almost two-thirds of ANC voters were of the belief that Ramaphosa would eventually succeed in bringing about a much better country to live in. If he departed from the ANC in the form of a split, then, depending on the circumstances, the support of ANC voters could fragment with less than half remaining loyal to the ANC," the report says.

READ | Phala Phala: President's decision 'cannot be rushed or taken in haste', says spokesperson

Should ANC support levels fall to below 50% in a future election, then up to a third of its present voters may look to alternative parties to vote for, researchers found.

"Ramaphosa’s favourability score amongst ANC voters, whilst still very strong, has fallen substantially since he became ANC leader. The ANC’s electoral fortunes are disproportionately tied to Ramaphosa. Should he depart the party, its prospects for sustaining its majority in 2024 are not very good and, in the aftermath of a national defeat, its support levels amongst registered voters could well slip to between 30% and 40%," the report further noted.

"Yet the damage of the present corruption saga is likely so severe that even were he to remain, the prospects for his party remain poor," researchers concluded.

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