Public opinion on national priority issues
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1999 was a momentous year in South African democratic history - the second democratic election was held, 96% of the voting population cast a verdict of freeness and fairness if the election during the first exit poll to be conducted in South Africa and public participation and attitudes to democracy saw a marked increase in maturity. The year also saw a marked improvement in public sentiment about government performance, service delivery and economic circumstances. A comparison of the national public opinion surveys of December 1998 and November 1999 reveals at public opinion also softened slightly on issues if crime and corruption and that levels of trust in the various national institutions increased. There was minimal change in the political preferences, with the ANC retaining its overwhelming popularity amongst the electorate.
The HSRC has conducted regular national surveys of public opinion for several years. Topics that are investigated include views about the quality of governance being exercised in South Africa, satisfaction service delivery, perceived national priorities, political preferences and the economy. Respondents are also asked for their opinions on race relations, the fight against crime and the extent to which they trust various national institutions such as labour unions, the courts the media and the police. This book reports on the shades of public opinion about these and other issues as captured during the national survey of November 1999. The views thus reflect the public mood just five months after the re-election by a wide margin, of the incumbent national government. Public opinion at this juncture can be used as a barometer of the needs and priorities of the electorate a d will be of value to all individuals and organisations that are involved in the public domain. Additionally, questions are received from a range of clients on topics ranging from voting behaviour and energy utilisation to safety and security issues. The latter data are the property of the respective clients and are not reported in this volume, however.