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Cablegate: Poll Shows Zuma Emerging As Top Presidential

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TAGS: PGOV KDEM SF
SUBJECT: POLL SHOWS ZUMA EMERGING AS TOP PRESIDENTIAL
CONTENDER


1. (U) ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma came in first place
when 2,000 adults were asked, "Who do you think will succeed
President Mbeki in 2009?", according to a poll released by
TNS Surveys on 25 October. Zuma came out heads above the
others, receiving 27 percent of the vote. Deputy President
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka came in a distant second with only ten
percent of the vote. Filling out the top five were President
Mbeki (who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third
term) with eight percent, Cyril Ramaphosa with seven percent,
and Tokyo Sexwale with six percent. Of the next five
contenders, three were not even ANC members, indicating some
respondents do not understand how the country chooses its
President. Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Helen Zille
received four percent, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma received three percent, and Finance Minister
Trevor Manuel, Independent Democrats Leader Patricia de
Lille, and former DA Leader Tony Leon each received two
percent of the vote. Twenty-six percent of respondents did
not know. Respondents were also asked, "Who would you like
to succeed President Mbeki?" with almost identical responses.

2. (U) Thirty-eight percent of respondents agreed to the
statement "South Africa will not be ready for a female
President when President Thabo Mbeki steps down." This shows
a slight warming to the idea. In September 2006, 48 percent
of people agreed with the statement. Black males agreed
most, with 47 percent, while only 33 percent of both black
and white females agreed that the country is not ready.

3. (U) Though a quarter of those polled believe Zuma will
become President, nearly half (48 percent) agreed that this
would "bring disaster to South Africa." While significant,
the number of respondents in 2006 who agreed with this
statement was 58 percent. However, it is important to note
that this sentiment was not shared equally among races.
Indian or Asians were the most pessimistic with 81 percent of
respondents agreeing that a Zuma presidency would be
disastrous, 78 percent of coloured respondents felt it would
be, and 69 percent of whites felt it would be. Only 33
percent of blacks agreed. Responses also varied dramatically
between provinces, with Cape Town being the most pessimistic
-- 73 percent of respondents felt SA would be worse off,
while Durban was the least pessimistic with only 36 percent
of inhabitants predicting disaster.

4. (U) TNS Surveys conducted the survey during face-to-face
interviews in the first half of September. Respondents are
from Gauteng province (Johannesburg, Soweto, East, South, and
West Rand, Pretoria, and Vaal Triangle), Western Cape (Cape
Town), KwaZulu-Natal (Durban), Eastern Cape (East London and
Port Elizabeth), and Free State (Bloemfontein.) No polling
was done in North West, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, and
Limpopo provinces. The 2,000 respondents included 1,260
blacks, 385 whites, 240 coloureds, and 115 Indians/Asians.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Mission cautions against drawing too many
conclusions from this snapshot poll, especially in connection
with the ANC party election in December. The poll likely
reflects Zuma's political momentum, as much as the negative
public criticism of Mbeki, in the past few weeks. However,
South Africa's next President will be chosen by the ruling
party in Parliament (inevitably the ANC) in 2009, not by the
man on the street and definitely not by those who are not
Qman on the street and definitely not by those who are not
members of the ANC. In this sense, public opinion is less
revealing in South Africa than in many other countries. END
COMMENT.
BOST

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