Press "Enter" to skip to content

Ramaphosa’s approval rating in decline since he took over in 2018 – Ipsos survey

A recent survey has found that, while 62% of South Africans think President Cyril Ramaphosa is doing his job well, his approval rating has dropped since he took office in February 2018.

Findings from an Ipsos survey, titled ‘Pulse of the People’, conducted towards the end of 2019, shows that Ramaphosa still holds favour in the majority of South African households, who believe he is doing a good job.

According to the findings, 25% of those who took the survey said that Ramaphosa was doing his job very well, while 37% of those interviewed said he was doing his job fairly well.

Seventeen percent of interviewees said the president was not doing very well, while 13% believed Ramaphosa was not doing well at all. 


“Placing these results against the background of the last three years, it is clear from the graph overleaf that South Africans have expressed a lot more appreciation for the leadership of President Ramaphosa than for President [Jacob] Zuma (who stood at 24% for doing his job well a few weeks before the Nasrec conference in 2017),” Ipsos said.

READ | Ramaphosa must show he can take hard decisions at SONA, says business lobby group

However, the latest ratings do show a drop in those who believe that Ramaphosa is doing a good job as president.

Just after Ramaphosa assumed office, the same survey was conducted, which saw a 70% approval rating.

“After the Zuma years, South Africans were expecting great things from the new president. Like previous ANC leaders, including presidents [Nelson] Mandela and [Thabo] Mbeki, president Ramaphosa also gets a higher approval rating than the national government (at 51%). South Africans still expect their president to take action to have an influence on the future.”

OPINION | SONA 2020: An opportunity to be decisive

In another measurement, interviewees arranged by the province they live in, were asked to give the president a score out of 10, to evaluate Ramaphosa’s popularity across the nine provinces.


“Looking specifically at the provincial results from May 2019 and November 2019, the graph below makes it clear that the president is now doing better than just before the May 2019 election in eight out of the nine provinces,” Ipsos said.

“The exception is the Northern Cape, where the celebrations of the ANC’s birthday in January and the president’s interaction with voters on the ground could have had an influence – this will be measured again in May this year.” 

Political parties

Steering away from the president’s performance, the Ipsos survey also looked at the relative strength of political parties six months after the May 2019 general elections.

According to the findings, support for the three biggest parties shrunk, while the IFP and FF+ maintained their positions.

The ANC managed to get 57.50% of the vote, with the DA in second place with 20.77% of the electorate, and the EFF were given a nod by 10.8% of those who turned out to vote.


Ipsos did note that during the field work interviews respondents completed a ballot paper to indicate their choice of party, but that their findings were from South Africans eligible to vote, and not only those who turned out to vote last year.

In the May 2019 election, roughly 10 million South Africans were not registered to vote and another 10 million did not turn out to vote.

The survey

Ipsos said the survey used a sample size of 3 600 adult South Africans. The results were then weighted and projected across the adult South African population.

Home language, face-to-face interviews were done in all types of geographies – from big cities to remote rural areas, and the results were representative of the views of the South African population of voting age, Ipsos added.

ALSO READ | SA tourism industry needs special attention, Mr President

The fieldwork was done from September 20 to November 8, 2019.

“The margin of error of the study depends on the sample size, response rate and survey methodology used and is between 0.65 and 1.75 for the sample as a whole at a 95% confidence level.” 

Read More