President Jacob Zuma cost the ruling African National Congress millions of votes in the country’s local government elections in 2016. Core ANC voters stayed away, were repelled by the party – or simply gave up on it. This comes through clearly from private polling data gathered before, during and after the general election in 2014 and the local municipal election poll in 2016. Presidential candidates and party leaders are meant to “lift” the vote for their party, as Donald Trump did for the Republicans. But not in South Africa. What’s clear is that Zuma’s follies cost the ANC dearly throughout South Africa, but most particularly in Gauteng – the country’s most educated and connected province, with the largest black middle class – and KwaZulu-Natal, supposedly Zuma’s staunchest support base. The ANC vote dropped everywhere else as well. Data based on a survey of over 17 000 Gauteng voters, conducted for a private donor and published here for the first time, backs up polling data indi...

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