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Voter information, government evaluations and party images, 1994-2004

Year: 2004
Working paper number: 089
Author: Mattes, Robert
Unit: DARU

Citizens vote for the political party they think is best able to govern in their interests. But how do South African voters arrive at these conclusions? And what type of information do they use? This paper reviews available survey data from the past decade about South Africans' levels of political information, evaluations of government performance, and partisan attitudes. It argues that while voters have been generally satisfied with the performance of the ANC government, there has been a sufficiently large minority of dissatisfied voters to have accounted for more electoral fluidity than we have thus far seen. It ends by providing evidence that shows that while these voters may be dissatisfied with the ANC, they have little information about alternative opposition parties, and what they do know is very negative. Thus, dissatisfied voters must either vote for the ANC as the lesser evil, or simply stay at home.

Publication file: wp89.pdf