Time for SA parties to acknowledge the power of the Pink Vote – IRR

31 August 2021 - The Pink Vote, which refers to the voting preferences of the LGBTQ population, is a strategically untapped market for political parties.

The Pink Vote, which refers to the voting preferences of the LGBTQ population, is a strategically untapped market for political parties.
This is the key finding of the latest report, ‘The SA Pink Vote’, from the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), which focuses particularly on how LGBTQ voters view South Africa’s political parties and why it is important to consider this voter segment.

The report finds that:

  • Global studies suggest that LGBTQ voters tend to be more politically engaged than other demographic groups;
  • The LGBTQ population may be a much larger voting bloc than expected; and
  • Evidence from across the world shows that it is possible for political parties from differing ideological viewpoints to compete for support from LGBTQ voters.  

The report argues that should political parties continue to ignore this voting block during elections, they risk missing out on an active, dynamic, and electorally valuable market. 
Author of the report Gerbrandt van Heerden writes that ‘understanding of the power of the Pink Vote could point to a strategic untapped market for political parties’.
‘To put this into perspective, studies conducted by The Other Foundation have shown that conservative estimates place South Africa’s LGBTQ population at around half a million. This means that there is, potentially, a sizeable number of LGBTQ voters, and ignoring this group during election campaigns would be a mistake. Understanding and appealing to it would be a matter of electoral competitiveness – and a win for any political party that prides itself on human rights, equality and freedom.’
The report notes, however, that ‘even though the battle has been won to ensure that a long list of protections for the [LGBTQ] community is written into the Constitution, the benefits often do not extend to marginalised parts of society’.
‘Pro-LGBTQ parties in South Africa should do more to engage with this vulnerable group in order to create a safe and more equal environment for queer people. Doing so will also benefit political parties handsomely at the polls.
‘LGBTQ people are eager to show their support to anyone or any organisation that will champion their rights. They are also pragmatic in their voting behaviour, as any party whether on the left or right of the political spectrum stands to receive support from this cohort if they are able to effectively deal with the major issues that affect queer South Africans. It is time for political parties to realise that the Pink Vote is an active, dynamic and electorally valuable market to tap into.’
Read the full report at: https://irr.org.za/reports/occasional-reports/the-sa-pink-vote

Media contact: Gerbrandt van Heerden, IRR analyst Tel: 064 909 3831
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za;
Kelebogile Leepile Tel: 011 482 7221 ext: 2018 Email: kelebogile@irr.org.za