Daily Maverick and Intellidex analyst Peter Attard Montalto are joining up to track results as they unfold – barring glitches like printer melt-downs and such – in this, South Africa’s most contested elections 25 years into democracy. The pollsters have had their say, and on 8 May it’s up to the 26, 736,803 registered voters to cast their ballots before 9pm when voting stations close. And then the count’s on. We will be looking at forecasts that can be made, if any, from early partial results to the final result, looking through the party swings in certain areas and important difference between votes and actual seats, especially in tight provincial contests.
1am, Friday, 10 May
Fifth Update – Results tracking model
As large metros start reporting the model is on the move, but only subtly. The numbers are shifting very slightly, but the narrative is not. We still see the ANC on around 57.1% nationally (230 seats) and 50.5% in Gauteng (37 seats — the minimum number).
The introduction of the IEC’s new audit process and the usual lull in results before the metros start pouring in has all meant that we are sitting at 64.1% of the votes projected counted nationally and 50.36% counted in Gauteng. This threshold is a good opportunity to check in with Gauteng, however, especially.
Greg Mills and others here on Daily Maverick commented earlier that there seems now to be more of a consensus that the ANC will still just keep a vote (and seat) majority in Gauteng. The DA’s James Selfe said their internal models put the ANC at 50.2%. Nevertheless, we have been surprised by the unusually reserved nature of ANC types in both public and private on the Gauteng question.
Our latest model saw the ANC tick back very marginally, but overall it has been broadly stable for the ANC. By contrast, the DA has improved marginally at the expense of the EFF and smaller parties in Gauteng. In terms of projected provincial legislature seats, things remain remarkably stable.
We have been calling a seat majority all along, even with the ANC below 50% given the PR allocation of seats we saw. We have called for an outright majority, though of varying size, from 5.7% of the vote being counted in the province. We think we can now say with some certainty that the ANC will get a majority of the vote, though given that they are still on the nose with only 37 seats vs 37 required for a majority — so anything could still technically happen with seats, depending on the makeup of small parties’ support.
It looks likely, however, that the ANC will get an outright majority of seats if the underlying swing seen in seats highly correlated with Soweto and similar Gauteng areas comes through. It is still not possible to “call” Gauteng really — given the margin of error is still +/-1%. However in the morning, with more results, it should then be possible, barring any major slowdown in declaration speed.
Nationally we have seen a larger tickback in ANC vote share projected from 57.49% to 57.09% as a large number of second cities started reporting. The DA took up the slack here, increasing to 21.31%. Overall, we think we can now call (given a margin of error of +/-0.6%) that the ANC will get around 57%.
Nationally, turning attention to projected seats, we can now see the IFP and FF+ swopping between 12/11 seats and this will continue to shift in the final straight. The UDM has rallied back somewhat to three seats now, given their urban-centric base, but they are still underperforming 2014 significantly. The ATM and AIC still make it into Parliament, just, but could easily fall off again.
We have particularly concentrated on the Gauteng provincial race here given its closeness. The EFF leapfrogging into official opposition in Limpopo and so on are more fixed narratives that had a higher degree of certainty much earlier on. Given the uncertainty over the Gauteng results, however, we will publish more updates in the morning until we can “call” it.
For now the national results would seem to suggest that notional “mandate” levels for President Ramaphosa are not met (unless those goal posts are shifted yet again and as such markets and investors will remain sceptical of reforms to come).