Service delivery protests are up and trust in political institutions is down. Statements along these lines have been fuelling discussions at every level of the public sphere, from newspaper columns to radio debates, the boardroom table to the dinner table. But why do South Africans vote for a particular party over another? In the past decade we have witnessed an erosion of the ANC’s electoral majority, major metropoles changing hands and the emergence of fierce competitor parties, and an entirely new political language has cascaded from tweets to student and youth protesters to the halls of parliament and beyond. A whole new political world is unfolding, but will we see this reflected in the 2019 election results? If the data holds, yes. The first wave of analysis from our newly released Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) study, based on data collected in November and early December last year, shows key shifts in voter preferences and perceptions that could transform the...

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