A new survey shows how South Africa’s political parties would stand among voters, if an election was held tomorrow.
The survey results are contained in the Afrobarometer Government performance and leadership trends in SA report, which tracks government performance and public perceptions towards the trust and accountability of the President, among other metrics.
The Afrobarometer team in South Africa, led by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Plus 94 Research, interviewed 2,400 adult South Africans in August-September 2015.
Among the survey results, the group found that President Jacob Zuma’s approval rating had dropped by as much as 28% percentage points since 64% in 2011, to 36% in 2015.
“2015 has been a tumultuous year for South Africa’s democracy. A number of key government officials have been embroiled in corruption scandals, most notably the alleged mismanagement of state funds in the construction of President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal,” the research group said.
The survey asked respondents the question: If elections were held tomorrow (2015), who would you vote for?
The responses showed that the ANC’s support is lower than it was in 2011, where 48% of respondents said they would choose the ruling party.
Meanwhile, DA support has increased, up to 17%, while the EFF – appearing for the first time in the survey – grabbed 9% of votes.
Notably, there was a decrease in people who said they would not vote, didn’t know who they would vote for, or refused to answer the question, indicating a heightened level of political activity in the country – or at least those questioned.
In the 2014 National Elections, the ANC saw a decrease of 3.75% percentage points in total votes, though it maintained its position as the majority party at 62.15%.
The DA increased its position by 4.62% from the previous elections, to 22.23% of the vote – rooting itself as the biggest opposition to the ANC.
However, newcomers the EFF grabbed headlines, along with 6.35% of the votes in the election, making waves as a new opposition force in the country’s political landscape.
At its National Conference held in October 2015, the ruling party expressed concern over its electorate, noting that many of its voters had become dissatisfied.
“It was a difficult election,” Zuma told the conference.
“While celebrating the 2014 election victory, we realised some of our traditional voters have in recent year become dissatisfied and some have chosen to abstain from the elections, demonstrating their displeasures, but are still remaining loyal to the movement.”
Zuma said South Africa’s loyalty to the party should not be taken for granted.