Robert Mattes


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am willing to work with students interested in the areas of voting, elections, public opinion, legislatures and democratization.

Personal profile

Personal Statement

Born and educated in the United States, I spent 25 years researching and teaching in South Africa before moving to Strathclyde in 2017.  My research focuses on issues and challenges of sustaining democracy, by studying voting, public opinion, and elected legislatures, in the developing world in general, and Africa and  South Africa in particular.

Research Interests

I work on issues of democratization primarily through the tools of survey research but also employ other methods of institutional analysis. I am co-founder of, and Senior Adviser to Afrobarometer, a regular survey of public opinion in 35 African countries ( I am also co-founder and co-Principal Investigator of the African Legislatures Project, a study of legislatures and legislators in 17 countries. Finally, I am the founder and Principal Investigator of the South African National Election Study, a longitudinal series of post-election surveys dating back to South AFrica's first democratic election of 1994 (  These studies are also carried out in association with the Comparative National Elections Project, and Comparative Study of Electoral Systems project.

Expertise & Capabilities

Survey Research

Comparative Politics

African Politics

South African Politics

United States Politics

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Award Date: 15 Feb 1992

Master of Arts, University of Delaware

Award Date: 14 Jun 1986

Bachelor of Arts, Youngstown State University

Award Date: 16 Jun 1984

External positions

Adjunct Professor, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

1 Jun 2023 → …

Honorary Professor, University of Cape Town

1 Jan 201731 Dec 2021


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • African legislators: unrepresentative power elites?

    Mattes, R., Krönke, M. & Mozaffar, S., 22 May 2024, (Accepted/In press) In: Journal of Southern African Studies. 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Conceptualizing and measuring support for democracy: a new approach

    Claassen, C., Ackermann, K., Bertsou, E., Borba, L., Carlin, R. E., Cavari, A., Dahlum, S., Gherghina, S., Hawkins, D., Lelkes, Y., Magalhães, P. C., Mattes, R., Meijers, M. J., Neundorf, A., Oross, D., Ozturk, A., Sarsfield, R., Self, D., Stanley, B., Tsai, T., & 2 othersZaslove, A. . & Zechmeister, E. J., 21 May 2024, (Accepted/In press) In: Comparative Political Studies. 30 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
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