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Pivotal role of voter turnout in shaping the 2024 Election outcome

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
08 May 2024 | 09:13 CAT

Image/ Women For Change

In its latest poll, Ipsos is examining the potential impact of turnout scenarios and political party support, underscoring the pivotal role of voter turnout in shaping the outcome of the highly significant 2024 election in South Africa. This election is poised to be the most crucial since 1994, and the country is preparing for it at the end of this month.

To develop realistic voter turnout scenarios, Ipsos employs a multifaceted approach that considers key indicators such as interest in politics, desire to vote, stated intention to vote, and depth of party loyalty. Ipsos’ proprietary algorithm generates three distinct turnout scenarios by an Ipsos response to this series of carefully crafted survey questions. The latest data reveals an uptick in voter engagement compared to the previous turnout projections based on fieldwork conducted in December 2023. (Findings available in the Ipsos Press Release dated 6 February 2024, Support for Political Parties).

Based on the current trends, a low voter turnout scenario – where only the most committed voters participate – could see between 41% and 43% of registered voters heading to the polls. The model suggests a voter turnout rate between 57% and 59% in a medium turnout scenario. At the high end, Ipsos’ projections indicate that as many as 74% to 76% of registered voters could cast their ballots if voter enthusiasm reaches its peak, potentially altering the election landscape significantly.

According to Mari Harris, the modelling shows that a low voter turnout will be to the ANC’s advantage—pushing the ruling party closer to achieving 50% of the vote and implying that the ANC will need a smaller party as a coalition partner to form a future government.

“60 percent of South Africans are registered to vote, there’s still 40 percent of people who are eligible who have not registered to vote.”

However, Harris highlighted that the figures look better than they did in February for people who say they will turn out to vote. 

“In a medium turnout scenario, the model indicates that the voter turnout rate may be between 57% and 59%. On the high end, Ipsos’ Projections suggest that as many as 74% to 76% of registered voters could cast their ballots if voter enthusiasm reaches its peak,” she added.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Mufi Yusuf Moosagie.


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