There are countries in which opinion polls are a reliable guide to how political parties are faring in election campaigns. SA is not one of them. A feature of this campaign has been a steady stream of polls, all issued by people who are very good at sounding as if they alone know how people will vote. As usual, the media, which believes anything to which a number is attached no matter how weird the method used to generate it, has quoted them all as the revealed truth. But as voters make their way to the polls we know little more about the likely outcome than we did when the campaign started. The key reason is the huge gap between what polls say. Some have the ANC at 61%, another says 49%-51%. Some have the DA in the early teens, others at 24%. These are huge differences and we have no way of knowing until the results are announced who is right (if anyone is). Where the polls agree, their claims are sometimes contradicted by the only guide to how people really vote: municipal by-ele...

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