Johannesburg - The ANC is on course to win nearly a two-thirds majority in 7 May elections, a poll showed on Sunday, confounding analysts who had predicted a fall in support for the ruling party.
The poll, published by the Sunday Times, said the ANC was likely to win 65.5% of the vote, only a shade lower than the 65.9% it won at the last national elections in 2009.
The survey was conducted on 4 April, after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela published a damning report into a R246m state-funded security upgrade to President Jacob Zuma's private home.
Madonsela judged that Zuma had benefited unduly from the upgrades, which included a swimming pool, chicken run and amphitheatre at his residence at Nkandla, and should pay back some of the money.
While overall support for the ANC remained largely unaffected by the Nkandla scandal, the poll said Zuma's personal approval ratings had slipped to 62% from 65% before Madonsela delivered her findings.
The poll also showed that the DA was on track to build its national support from 16.6% in 2009 to 23.1% this year.
It put support for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at 4%.
The ANC has presided over strong economic growth since the end of apartheid in 1994, but Zuma's first term in office has been rocky.
The economy slipped into its first post-apartheid recession in 2009 and has struggled to regain the growth rates it logged before the global financial crisis.
The government is expecting economic growth this year of 2.7%, way below the levels needed to make any in-roads into 25% unemployment.
The police killing of 34 striking miners at Lonmin Marikana platinum mine in 2012 also drew widespread criticism, with many South Africans accusing the ANC-controlled police force of apartheid-style brutality.
Analysts had also expected the so-called “Born Frees” - young South Africans with no first-hand experience of white-minority rule - to withhold their support for the ANC, which still uses its defeat of apartheid as its main draw card.
However, Election Commission figures show that only one in three voters aged 18 to 19 has registered to vote.
The poll, conducted by Ipsos, surveyed 2 219 voters nationwide.
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