(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s populist opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, has seen its support plunge by about half in the last eight months, a Social Research Foundation poll shows.

The survey, conducted before a national shutdown called by the EFF for March 20, showed the party would win 6% backing assuming there was a 66% election turnout. That compared with 12% in July, similar to what it won in the 2019 national elections. 

The ruling African National Congress would garner 52% support, while the biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, would get 24%, the SRF said. The poll canvassed the views of 1,517 registered voters across a range of age groups, races and regions. 

The poll is the latest indication that the EFF, which was formed in 2013 on a platform of nationalizing everything from land to banks, may be losing steam just over a year before elections. Its calls for a shutdown garnered limited support among the public, with most businesses staying open and protests attracting small crowds in all towns other than in the capital, Pretoria, where a few thousand people attended. 

While support for the ANC and DA is stable “that for the EFF is down sharply,” the SRF said, cautioning though that the survey had a national margin of error of 4%. 

If the impact of voter turnout were disregarded, the EFF would win 8.4% support, the ANC 45.9% and the DA 23.3%, the poll showed. The EFF won 10.6% of the national vote in 2019, the ANC 57.5% and the DA 20.8%. 

Some smaller parties look set to put in a stronger showing. Support for the Inkatha Freedom Party, a Zulu nationalist party, doubled to 6% since July assuming a 66% turnout level, while backing for the right-wing Freedom Front Plus rose to 3% from 2%, the poll showed.

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