DA aiming for higher vote tally than its 2019 showing - Steenhuisen

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said last month that his party was aiming for 24%, but he told Eyewitness News that he would be happy with anything higher than in the last national elections.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen at the party’s manifesto launch on 25 September 2021. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said that his party was aiming for a share of the vote that was slightly higher than the 2019 elections.

The party had a strong voter registration drive which, he said, was half the battle.

The DA has conceded that it was unlikely to repeat its sterling performance in the 2016 elections when it got almost 27% of the vote.

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Party leader Steenhuisen said that the environment was totally different.

"You had the height of the stop Zuma campaign, Gupta scandals, you had a completely different environment. But you got a new president now, and I think you have to compare the action with the last one that Cyril Ramaphosa was at the helm at."

Steenhuisen told the Daily Maverick last month that his party was aiming for 24%, but he told Eyewitness News that he would be happy with anything higher than in the last national elections.

"I'll be happy with any growth from the 20.7% from 2019. Obviously, I would like to do better than that. But I think that would be good, anything above that would be a bonus."

The DA traditionally does better in local government elections and due to different calculations, it's almost impossible to compare these to general elections.

LEADER'S IMAGE

Steenhuisen said that he was optimistic that more voters would get to know him in due time.

Internal polls done by the party had shown that up to three-quarters of voters did not know who he was.

There's concern among some in the DA over how low the party leader was polling.

Even though the party doesn’t officially disclose figures from its internal polls, insiders said that these showed that up to three-quarters of voters did not know that Steenhuisen was the DA’s leader.

His detractors are already using this as a possible basis for getting rid of him if the DA does badly in the 1 November local government elections.

But Steenhuisen told Eyewitness News that name recognition for all DA leaders usually improved after a few elections.

He said that his reception on ground level had been good, and it made him feel well-recognised.

Posters, billboards and videos are also being used to boost his image.

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