Carol Paton Writer at Large

Which pollster will win the May 8 elections? The answer is almost as keenly awaited as the election results, with vastly divergent predictions — sometimes even greater than 10 percentage points — on what the outcome will be. In part, this is because a greater proportion of the electorate are in flux than before as traditional voting choices are questioned due, more probably, to the extent to which disappointed voters are rethinking their choices.   Both the ANC and DA have had a torrid five years wracked by in-fighting and internal division, while smaller parties are arousing more interest than before. The time at which the survey is conducted has been more sensitive to change than before, illustrating these shifting loyalties. But the bigger reason for the divergent polls this time is the arrival of a new outfit on the political market research field. The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has set out to become an authority in the area and has been polling more frequently and qu...

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