Popular attitudes toward the South African electoral system

Robert Mattes, Roger Southall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This article is based on a survey of popular attitudes towards the pure list system that is South Africa's proportional representation electoral system. While the reported findings are broadly positive there are some notable exceptions, located disproportionately among racial minorities and also among sizable numbers of black respondents. Pure proportional representation is unlikely to produce the values that the respondents say they most want from a voting system. The significance of the survey's findings is analysed and reasons are advanced for making changes to the electoral system. The government has opted to retain the status quo for the time being but in the longer term this could be negative for South Africa's democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-76
Number of pages26
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • elections
  • electoral system
  • South Africa
  • public attitudes

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