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Ipsos survey: Political party support pre-election
In the 2014 national election, as with the previous four national elections in the democratic South
Africa, there is no doubt about which party will win the election. The ANC will return to parliament
with an overwhelming majority of votes – and will most probably be the ruling party in eight of the
However, this is still the most hotly contested election since 1994 and three provinces are worth
keeping a close eye on, namely the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Northern Cape. In Beeld of 2
May 2014, the DA predicted that they will win the provincial ballot in these provinces. In the same
article, it was mentioned that the EFF are claiming victory in Gauteng.
Ipsos South Africa undertakes a Pulse of the People™ study every six months and keeps close tabs on
the opinions of eligible voters. A randomly selected sample of South Africans of voting age (18+)
were asked which party they would support if there were an election the next day1. Respondents
then filled in their own choices on a “ballot paper” – making this a secret vote.
It is important to keep in mind that not all eligible voters are registered to vote. Interviews for the
latest Ipsos Pulse of the People™ study was conducted from 20 February until 28 March 2014, thus
after the last IEC registration weekend. It also included a question on whether the respondent
interviewed was registered to vote.
Interestingly, approximately 35 million South Africans are eligible to vote (South African citizens of 18
years and older), of whom just more than 25 million have registered to vote.
The IEC figures indicating registration by province were used to weight and project the dataset for
registered voters. Thus the figures used in this press release are representative of all registered
voters, unless stated differently.
If we look at the political party choices on the ballot papers of registered voters, one in every ten
registered voters (10%) indicated that they do not know who to vote for and a further 2% said that
they were not going to vote, in spite of being registered.
Turnout and interest in politics and elections
The proportion of registered voters who turn out to vote and voters who are still deciding as to which
party to vote for can thus be very important factors in the election – making it difficult to predict. To
get a firmer grip on possible voter turnout, Ipsos takes the results of two other questions into
account, namely likelihood to vote and desire to vote.
How likely are you to vote in the election on 7
How much do you want to vote in the election
on 7 May?
Very likely to vote 47 Definitely want to vote 43
Likely to vote 42 Want to vote 45
Not really likely to vote 6 Do not really want to vote 7
The question wording is: “If there were national elections tomorrow, which political party or organisation would you vote for?
Please indicate your choice of party on a national level as well as on a provincial level.”
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Not at all likely to vote 3 Definitely do not want to vote 4
Don’t know 2 Don’t know 1
Together with these findings, the interest of the electorate in politics and elections can also have an
influence on voter turnout on Election Day. Three in every ten registered voters (29%) indicated that
they are very interested in politics and elections (Six months ago this figure was 20%, but political
campaigning always sparks more interest).
How interested are you in politics and elections?
November 2013 % April 2014 %
Not at all interested 35 Not at all interested 27
Somewhat interested 43 Somewhat interested 43
Very interested 20 Very interested 29
Don’t know 2 Don’t know 1
To add to these findings, just more than a third of registered voters (35%) indicated that there is no
party that represent their views.
On the basis of these results, a simple algorithm was put together and scenarios for high, medium
and low voter turnout were developed.
Political leadership is often an important factor in deciding which party to vote for, especially if the
voter is still considering a number of political parties. However, it has also been seen that party
loyalty is more important than loyalty to a particular political leader.
In the Pulse of the People™ Ipsos asks respondents to give their opinion on a list of political leaders,
some of them party leaders and others prominent people in different political parties or on the
national scene. The question posed to respondents is “How many points out of ten would you give
……(political leader), where 10 means you are completely in favour of him/her and 0 means you are
totally against him/her.”2
Leader Points out of 10
Trevor Manuel 5.9
Jacob Zuma 5.5
Kgalema Motlanthe 5.4
Cyril Ramaphosa 5.0
Zwelinzima Vavi 4.7
Helen Zille 4.0
Masiuoa Lekota 3.4
Patricia de Lille 3.4
Lindiwe Mazibuko 3.3
Mamphela Ramphele 3.2
Julius Malema 3.1
Bantu Holomisa 3.1
Please keep in mind that these are the results for all registered voters and not only for the members of a specific political party.
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Kenneth Meshoe 3.0
Mangosuthu Buthelezi 2.9
Pieter Mulder 2.8
Political party support
How does the political party support in the different scenarios look like?
Please note that for this analysis only the figures from the April 2014 Pulse of the People™ were taken
Political Party support
within different turnout
ACDP 1.1 0.9 0.9
ANC 65.5 63.4 60.2
COPE 1.7 1.2 1.0
DA 20.7 22.9 23.3
EFF 4.2 4.7 5.3
IFP 1.9 1.9 2.3
UDM 0.8 1.1 1.7
OTHER PARTIES 4.1 3.9 5.3
*Only parties with measured support of more than 0,5% in April 2014 are included in this table.
All sample surveys are subject to a margin of error, determined by sample size, response rate and
sampling methodology used. The margin of error of the Ipsos Pulse of the People™ is 1,67 for the
sample as a whole. To illustrate this, if the response rate is 50%, the “true answer” can be 1.67
percentage points higher or lower than the given results, in 95 out of every 100 cases.
Thus, the national election results will probably be as follows:
Margin of error – final result will be
ANC 63 61% and 65%
DA 22 20% and 24%
EFF 5 3% and 7%
Other parties together 10 -
The provincial polls
For the first time since 1994, it is clear that a considerable proportion of voters will split their votes,
i.e. vote for a different party on the national and on the provincial ballot. The smaller parties will
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stand to benefit from this and all the following parties will do better (overall, when all provincial
votes are put together) than on the national ballot:
When looking at the possible provincial results overleaf, it is very important to keep in mind that the
study was done randomly and therefore there were more interviews done in more populous provinces.
The margin of error is thus higher in provinces where a smaller number of interviews were conducted.
The calculation of the different voter turnout scenarios also had an influence on the final number of
interviews per province.
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Possible provincial party support amongst REGISTERED voters – in a moderate voter turnout
6.6 9.4 9.4 13.3 5.9 9.4 4.2 13.3 7.7
ANC 70 82 78 73 73 62 58 62 24
DA 19 8 13 12 12 19 26 27 65
EFF 2 7 6 9 2 4 7 2 5
ACDP * 1 1 2 * 2 1 * 1
AGANG * * 2 1 * * 1 * 1
COPE 5 * 1 1 * 3 1 * 1
IFP * * * 1 11 * * * *
AZAPO 1 1 * * * 6 1 * *
FF+ 1 1 1 1 * 2 1 5 1
MF - - - - 1 - - - -
NFP - - - - 2 - - - -
PAC * * - - - - * 2 1
UCDP - - - - - - - 2 1
UDM 1 1 * - - - * - -
1 * * * 1 2 4 * 1
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Profiles of the supporters of the three biggest political parties in South Africa
The question is often asked who the supporters of a specific political party are or, put slightly
differently, how representative a particular political party is of the voters in the country.
In the following tables the profiles of the supporters of the ANC, DA and EFF are compared with the
profile of South Africans eligible to vote. These three parties were chosen based on the support for
them expressed in the April 2014 Ipsos poll.
Female 52 56 52 46
Male 48 44 48 54
Zulu 23 29 4 17
Xhosa 15 19 2 21
Afrikaans 14 3 54 4
English 11 3 32
28 37 7 50
9 9 1 8
Full-time 27 25 46 33
Part-time 9 9 7 12
27 20 31 16
Unemployed 37 46 16 39
18-24 28 15 8 31
25-34 23 25 19 37
35-49 26 30 33 29
50+ 23 30 40 3
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No formal education 2 3 * 2
11 14 5 2
Some high school
/Grade 12/ Matric
74 76 69 85
Tertiary 13 7 26 11
Yes 27 38 20 21
No 73 62 80 79
Black 76 95 14 96
White 12 5 56 4
Coloured 9 25
Indian 3 5
Gauteng 23 23 27 33
KwaZulu-Natal 21 22 10 8
Eastern Cape 13 15 13 7
Limpopo 11 12 3 16
Western Cape 10 3 31 13
Mpumalanga 7 9 3 8
North West 7 8 5 8
Free State 6 6 5 6
Northern Cape 2 2 3 1
Metropolitan 36 31 52 40
City/ Large and
64 69 48 60
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A total of 3,730 personal face-to-face interviews were conducted with randomly selected adult
South Africans. The interviews were done in the homes and home languages of respondents.
Trained quantitative fieldworkers from all population groups were responsible for the interviewing,
which took place from 20 February to 28 March 2014. This methodology ensured that the results
are representative of the views of the universe and that findings can be weighted and projected to
the universe – i.e. South Africans 18 years and older.
Interviews were done using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) and all results were
collated and analysed in an aggregate format to protect the identity and confidentiality of
All sample surveys are subject to a margin of error, determined by sample size, sampling
methodology and response rate. The sample error for the sample as a whole at a 95% confidence
level is a maximum of 1,67%. When analysing the results for smaller parties in particular on an
individual party basis the margin of error will be higher.
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