Zuma’s approval rating drops to new low

2010-10-06 15:38

President Jacob Zuma’s approval level in metro areas dropped to a new low of 42% in the third quarter, according to the latest TNS Research Surveys poll.

Zuma’s end-2009 approval rating in metro areas was 58%, but dropped to 43% in February – the biggest drop in a president’s rating in 15 years, TNS said.

His approval rating partially recovered to 51% at the end of May, but dropped to a new low of 42% at the beginning of September, with 44% saying he was not doing a good job as president – the highest disapproval level yet seen for Zuma.

The studies were each conducted among a sample of 2 000 South African adults from the seven major metropolitan areas, interviewing them face-to-face in their homes, with a margin of error of under 2.5%.

TNS said the decline in February occurred at a time when Zuma’s personal life was in the spotlight and there were growing service delivery protests.

The May study was conducted just prior to the start of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and these issues, as well as service-delivery protests, were much less in the public eye.

The latest study was conducted during the lengthy public servants’ strike during part of which Zuma visited China with a large trade delegation.

The main drop in approval levels in September came from black South Africans where approval levels were at an all-time low (54%) since the elections last year, having reached 75% end-2009.

For whites, there was a remarkable positive shift beginning over the election period and continuing into September.

However, sentiment had now also moved to levels just below the overall average, but September showed the same levels of approval as in May.

For coloureds, initially sentiment moved from the negative into a “don’t know” area, but this reverted back to a negative stance in 2010, with no real change since May.

For Indians/Asians, after a positive shift in May, there had been a notable drop in September.

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