President Jacob Zuma's performance approval rating has dropped significantly to its lowest point of 21% in February 2016. The previous lowest score was an approval rating of 33% in March 2015. This is the proportion of South Africans, living in metro areas, who feel that Zuma is doing a good job as president.
Although the ratings have dropped across all race groups, the current results show a marked shift by black respondents in their approval of the president, dropping from 43% in March 2015 to 27% in February 2016, with 59% stating that the president is not doing a good job and 14% stating “don’t know”.
This is according to TNS’s first omnibus study of 2016, conducted between 16 and 29 February this year amongst 2,000 South African adults living in the seven major metropolitan areas and representative in terms of area, race and gender.
TNS has been measuring sentiment in terms of whether President Zuma has been doing a good job since his inauguration as the president in 2009.
The decline in approval ratings is driven largely by shifts in metropolitan areas in Gauteng (down to 22%) and KwaZulu-Natal (down to 33%), and to a lesser extent by the Western Cape (down to 12%).
Consistent with previous results, older people are more likely to state that Zuma is not doing a good job as president, 74% (aged 50 years and older) versus 62% (aged 25 to 34 years). The overall level of disapproval has, however, risen in the current survey from 56% in March 2015 to 67% in February 2016.
In line with previous trends, Zulu speakers are more likely to agree that the president is doing a good job, but the current results show that this sentiment has dropped substantially from an average of 58% (in 2015) to a new low of 33% in 2016.
Using Twitter conversations to size events
TNS turned to Twitter to further unpack the public conversations around the Zuma presidency and South African society in general. The Twitter population skews towards urban and young users and thus broadly aligns with our metro samples. By analysing millions of tweets, TNS was able to measure the magnitude of the various social issues and events that have arisen so far in 2016. The political and social events that generated the most conversation on Twitter relate to President Zuma:
TNS’s omnibus survey was conducted among 2,000 adults (age 18+) between 16 and 29 February 2016, in the seven major metropolitan areas. The study was conducted as part of TNS’s ongoing research into current social and political issues.
Twitter’s public APIs were used to collect tweets. The APIs impose limits on the number of tweets returned for particularly high volume queries. This means that we might not have collected every single tweet on a topic and the real counts might be slightly higher. Twitter analysis was conducted by the TNS Global Brand Equity Centre (GBEC) Data Science Team. For further information, please contact Kyle Findlay, Head of Data Science and Knowledge Creation - +27 (0)21 673 9703 / .
About TNS TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, rand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.
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