Of all the positive sentiments shared on social media by city voters between the ANC, DA and EFF, with the ruling party receiving just above 40% of the share.

This is according to social media data statistics captured during the month of July by crowd integrated media analytics and insights company, BrandsEye, which suggests that voters’ sentiments show a scrambling in South African politics.

Across the country, the ANC received 41% of all positive mentions, followed by the DA at 36.2% and the EFF at 22.3%.

“The record of party mentions on social media platforms, in correlation with their local reference points, implies an ANC share of positive mentions at below 50% in every contestable metro (namely Cape Town, Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Nelson Mandela Bay),” BrandsEye said.

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“For a globally revered struggle movement whose support has never gone below 60 per cent, the picture on social media would seem to suggest the days of their having to share power are suddenly upon us,” BrandsEye reckons.

“With unsteady polling to match, disruptive protest activity, and institutional instability within the ruling party, the social media statistics point towards a new era in our politics in which parties will have to face the rough edges of our republic’s proportional representation system,” it said, adding that the ANC may have to look at coalitions in municipalities if they’re to govern.

Negative vs Positive sentiments across metros

When looking at the results of positive and negative sentiments across big metros, caution must be exercised considering that social media was the tool used for this data study.

“Social media in South Africa, for technological and social reasons, does not obviously yet provide a full picture, but the data does seem to confirm a growing feeling (as well as some of the volatile polling released by Ipsos and eNCA) that the ANC could lose another two major metros to the leading opposition party, the DA – with Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane in particular looking vulnerable, and Johannesburg set for a close finish too, BrandsEye said.

A look at negative sentiments among black citizens shows that they’re mostly unhappy with the ANC, especially in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, while those in the City of Cape Town and Johannesburg are mostly unhappy with the DA.

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When narrowed down to positive sentiments overall in Cape Town, the DA, which happens to govern in the metro received 53.7% of the positive sentiments, surprisingly followed by the EFF at 31.1% and ANC at 15.2%.

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The ruling party seems to be viewed negatively among coloured folks across many of the metros, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay.

image009For a party that’s new to Municipal Elections, the EFF seems to be holding its own when it comes to overall positive sentiments in all metros.

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“This is likely less a signal of a burgeoning voter surge for the EFF (the polls, as unreliable as they may be, seem to be consistent on this point), but rather represents how Malema’s party satisfies an emotional need for protest against ANC failures and corruption. Such sentiment is not going to help ANC voter turn-out,” BrandsEye said.

Data an important factor to consider with regards to elections polls

“The ANC is an enormously popular brand; it vastly outspends its rivals in campaigning; and the opposition parties are not without their own flaws and stigmas,” BrandsEye said.

The company added that there is also the question of the silent segment of the population who are either not on social media, or do not get involved in political discussion.

“Polls also suggest a massive undecided swing vote, particularly among historic ANC supporters that could yet spring a surprise. Nonetheless, data cannot simply be ignored. On the eve of a watershed election, the most likely result seems to be the further losses of major metros to either the DA outright, or to DA-led coalitions, which will be a major blow for the prestige of the ANC,” it concluded.