Zuma's approval ratings plunge
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma's approval rating in metro areas has declined by 3% since the beginning of March, according to a survey by marketing group TNS.
"President Zuma's approval levels in metro areas, as measured in September, show a long, slow decline overall since the highs of November 2009," TNS head of innovation Neil Higgs said of the survey released on Monday.
"After a year of volatility during 2010, Zuma's approval level for September 2011 shows a slow decline – 45% of metro adults approve of the way the president is doing his job, compared with 48% in March."
Higgs said the decline in recent months had been "more marked" amongst coloureds, Indians/Asians, and older people.
Younger people were still more favourably disposed to Zuma compared with other age groups.
ANC in the news
Higgs said Zuma's approval levels showed considerable volatility in 2010, dropping to 43% in February of that year from an end-2009 high of 58%.
There was a partial recovery in May, but September figures showed a sharp decline, with some recovery in November to 49%.
Higgs said the March study was conducted in the first two weeks of March 2011, at the start of local government elections campaigning.
The latest reading was conducted between August 25 and September 12.
The period coincides with the early stages of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema's disciplinary hearing, and the announcement of Justice Moegeng Moegeng as Zuma's chief justice nominee.
It was however, prior to the announcement of an inquiry into the arms deal, which could improve sentiment towards Zuma.
Coloureds, Indians not happy
Higgs said the September 2011 reading for blacks was "effectively unchanged". Figures for whites were also unchanged.
For coloureds, sentiment had shifted strongly towards the negative.
For Indians there was more volatility, but the latest reading was "by far" the poorest recorded during Zuma's tenure.
Zuma's drop in support occurred over most areas in Gauteng.
Durban had showed a steep drop, linked to "very poor" Indian/Asian results. The Eastern Cape had shown "some improvement".
Margin of error
Overall, Gauteng, along with Durban, Bloemfontein and the Eastern Cape had the highest approval levels. Cape Town had by far the poorest figures.
People aged 18 to 34 were the most positive about Zuma, with 52% supporting him.
Those aged 60 and older were the least positive, with 30% supporting him.
The studies were conducted amongst 2 000 adults – 1 260 blacks, 385 whites, 240 coloureds and 115 Indians/Asians - in the seven major metropolitan areas.
The study has a margin of error of under 2.5% for the results found in the total sample.