CSIR to use tool to predict 2024 elections results

Friday, May 24, 2024

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) announced it will once again be part of the South African elections, using its election prediction model for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections. 

This model was first introduced by the CSIR during the 1999 General Elections and will also be used when South Africans go to the polls on 29 May 2024.  

According to the institution, their election prediction model relies on two core principles, the analysis of voter behaviour patterns and the sequence in which voting results are announced on Election Day. 

“When combined, these two principles enable the team to group voters or voting districts based on their past voting behaviour, utilising a statistical clustering method. 

“When applied in previous elections, the model typically achieved a high degree of accuracy at a national level once approximately 5% of the results had been tallied.” 

The CSIR explained that the predictions become more stable and accurate as more voting districts are counted and once all voting districts have been declared. 

CSIR Chief Executive Officer, Dr Thulani Dlamini, clarified that the model was not a polling system, but a model that uses statistical and mathematical analysis to predict election outcomes. 

“It showcases how statistical clustering and some mathematical algorithms can achieve good predictions from a small sample of results. The election prediction model operates based on reducing the bias resulting from the ‘non-randomness’ of the incoming results that arise from the order in which the results are received,” he added. 

The predictive modelling capabilities also allow this to be tailor-made for other predictive analysis work. 

As one of its kind in the continent, CSIR has the capability of assisting other countries that may require such a tool to support election transparency and engagement. 

“The organisation possesses robust capabilities in mathematics and statistics, which are applied to deliver precise results and can be customised for various forms of predictive analysis and forecasting,” he added. 

The CSIR, an entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa.

The CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development, to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. – SAnews.gov.za