Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The problem with the IPSOS poll #DA #EFF #ANC

The problem with the IPSOS poll.

IPSOS interviewed a few thousand randomly selected South Africans in their homes in late April, May and early June. They found just 13% of South Africans supported the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and that it would lose its majority in its stronghold of the Western Cape. They also found the African National Congress (ANC) polling at about 60% with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) polling at just 7%.

The poll has been criticised for a number of reasons, including the obscurity around results. Also, the idea that the ANC is polling better than last year, when people are losing their jobs, petrol and food are more expensive, and people are poorer, as the economy has also shrunk.

Firstly, the poll took place in the first few months of Ramaphosa's presidency, bearing in mind he was put in charge after removing previous President Jacob Zuma in a palace coup in February. Ramaphoria, which media deemed to be investor sentiment, when it wasn't, is perhaps better defined as the positive coverage of Ramaphosa in South African media. Investors have been scared away from South Africa.

As I have reported on before, South African media, with a bit of help from Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) ownership quotas, and new wealth from tenderpreneurs, are almost solely owned by ANC allies, in South Africa, never mind the tightly controlled SABC state broadcaster, which broadcasts from radio and television aerials across the country.

Perhaps these figures are accurate. The DA has been abandoning its principles in favour of light versions of ANC policies, and Marxist beliefs. It has certainly lost a lot of support, perhaps even ten percent of the support it had.

The thing is, the IPSOS poll interviewed people as young as 15, who won't be voting, and did not just interview registered voters, or even people likely to vote.

The most accurate polling is robocalling: people, when dealing with a machine, are more honest. Would you let IPSOS' local pollsters into your home to chat politics? Was it during working hours? I don't know many people who would allow strangers into their home to interview them on politics. I certainly wouldn't, given the danger of crime in South Africa.

I would say, then, that people who are less worried about crime would be those involved, and if the pollsters were demographically representative of South Africa, given the very real pressure on people to vote ANC, people polled may have felt worried for their life or career if they said they were voting for someone else. Notably, even most ANC voters said they believed there was a leadership crisis in the ANC.

As the ANC continues to push forward with populist policies which have already caused mass job losses and poverty, and others which should be expected to add yet more misery to the economy, the average person on the street will continue to suffer. Most have only woken up to this from June, going forward, and it is from then that headlines turned. It was in June that we all were greeted with the news that the economy had shrunk and was in its worst place in 9 years. The IPSOS poll doesn't account for that and other realizations of misery under Ramaphosa's weak leadership.

Going forward, we can likely expect very different polling results, as other pollsters use more accurate polling techniques which don't rely on access to people's sanctum, their home, and don't pollute the results with pollsters who have human faces which give human expressions, and who those polled may fear will tell others of their voting intentions.

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