IDASA Political Culture Survey 1998

  • Robert Mattes (Creator)
  • Helen MacDonald (Contributor)
  • Cherrel Africa (Contributor)
  • Jennifer Christie (Contributor)



The Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) Opinion Survey was a series of opinion polls conducted prior to the 1999 election. They aimed to provide as complete a picture as possible of South African's views of the political, social and economic developments in the country since 1994. The survey was run by IDASA, Markinor and the SABC, along with the Electoral Institute of South Africa to increase credibility of the results and to utilise the best range of data collection and analysis expertise available.

Several key findings of the surveys had important impacts on the electoral process: The surveys confirmed the existence of a large proportion of citizens who lacked the correct identity documents to register. The increased public debate after the release of these results was followed by an extension of the registration process as well as the creation of Temporary Registration and an intensified public advertising campaign. The results helped identify the issues that ordinary voters think are most important (ie job creation, crime-reduction, education, housing, the economy and health care). This helped re-orient the way that the media covered the campaign and focussed government and opposition attention on these key issues. The surveys also revealed the existence of quite a sophisticated electorate and who differentiate between a range of dimensions of political performance and who look to real-world events such as the economy, government performance, and how the country is doing to help them make political choices.

External data deposit with DataFirst, University of Cape Town.
Date made available24 Nov 2021
Temporal coverage1998
Geographical coverageSouth Africa

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