May 7, 2019

South Africans Hopeful, but See Few Changes After Zuma

South Africa's "Ramaphoria" -- the feeling of hope and euphoria after President Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded Jacob Zuma last year -- was still on full display last August, when a record 66% of South Africans approved of the job Ramaphosa was doing as president. But it is unclear how far his popularity will take him and the African National Congress (ANC) party on Wednesday as South Africa votes in what some are calling the most important election since Nelson Mandela's.

Line graph. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s approval rating during his first year in office hit a record 66%.

Several polls conducted since Gallup's last survey suggest a strong showing for Ramaphosa and the ANC. However, despite Ramaphosa's intense personal popularity, South Africans, at least as of last August, had not seen much change yet on at least two key issues that ultimately forced his predecessor to resign: corruption and the economy. These issues will likely still be on their minds this Election Day.

Government Corruption Remains Widespread

After years of corruption scandals reaching the highest levels of their leadership, 82% of South Africans in 2018 saw the problem as widespread within their government. This is basically unchanged from the 85% who said the same during Zuma's last full year in office and is consistent with readings during most of his tenure.

Line graph. Corruption in government in South Africa remains endemic, with 82% saying in 2018 that it was widespread.

Majority Sees Economic Conditions Getting Worse

South Africa's economy has been struggling since the country's last election, taking consumer confidence down with it. Six months into Ramaphosa's tenure, South Africans' optimism had not rebounded. Four in 10 South Africans saw their local economic situations getting better in 2018, while the majority (55%) said conditions were getting worse.

Line graph. The majority of South Africans saw their local economic conditions getting worse in 2018.

Read more Gallup analysis on South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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