President Jacob Zuma at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province in China. Picture: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool Photo via AP

Johannesburg - Support for President Jacob Zuma has dropped "even further" as negative sentiment towards South Africa’s future remains high, a Kantar TNS survey has found.

The results of the survey released on Thursday also indicates that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is the most popular candidate to lead the African National Congress (ANC) among metro residents.

Kantar TNS said its survey found that Zuma’s performance approval rating has dropped below 20% to a new low of 18% in August 2017.  

"In this latest survey, we see that only 18% of South Africans living in metropolitan areas feel that Zuma is doing a good job as President of South Africa," said the Kantar TNS communique attributed to its director, Amien Ahmed.

The survey said in contrast, 75% of people living in metropolitan areas disagreed that Zuma is doing a good job as President, an increase of 4% since March 2017. The shift in ratings continues to head downward primarily due to worsening perceptions among Black and Coloured respondents.

As many as 68% of Black respondents do not agree that Zuma is doing a good job as President ‒ rising from 64% in March this year and 59% in February last year. A higher percentage of Coloured respondents disagree the President is doing a job rising from 89% to 96% in March this year.
 
On perceptions of conditions in South Africa, the survey found that overall 71% of metro South Africans believe "things have gotten worse" in the past year, compared to 14% who think "things are much the same and 11% who feel things are getting better".

Coloured respondents, as a group, are the most pessimistic with 88% believing things have gotten worse, while White and Indian respondents have similar feelings with 82% believing things have gotten worse.  

Black respondents are the least negative, with 66% believing things have gotten worse in the last year, compared to 13% who believe things have gotten better.
 
The Kantar TNS survey also sought to find out who is favoured as the next President of the ANC from the list of candidates made up of members who have indicated their willingness to stand for election.  

"Overall, Cyril Ramaphosa is the most popular candidate with 36% of all respondents supporting him (irrespective of political affiliation), followed by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at 19% and Lindiwe Sisulu at 16%," said the Kantar TNS communique.

The second omnibus study of 2017, was conducted this year between 10 and 22 August among a sample of 2,000 South African adults living in the seven major metropolitan areas.  

Kantar TNS, which said the sample was representative in terms of the area, race and gender profile of Metropolitan South Africans, has been measuring public sentiment in terms of whether Zuma has been doing a good job since his inauguration as President in 2009.