New polling data: here's what politicians should know about voters

Lukhona Mnguni, head of research at Rivonia Circle, joined Eusebius McKaiser on his TimesLIVE podcast to discuss the results of polling data and other research his organisation commissioned and worked on with Ipsos.

The discussion started with an explanation of the research methodology. McKaiser pressure-tested the integrity of political polling in South Africa generally, raising concerns about demographic representation, sample size and assumptions about telephony and so on. Mnguni conceded the importance of methodological hygiene, but explained that qualitative and quantitative methods were drawn on to ensure the results were "robust".

The meat of the discussion was about the political sentiments of registered voters. Mnguni unpacked their dominant concerns, with unemployment the most worrisome. Others included crime, corruption, blackouts and the rising cost of living. These factors, voters indicated to pollsters, were inadequately addressed by political parties. In terms of governance, about 74% of respondents thought the country was heading in the wrong direction, in no small part due to their five major concerns not being adequately addressed.

The conversation between McKaiser and Mnguni then segued to the implications for democracy and what practical and strategic lessons political parties ought to read from these results. Mnguni was adamant that a sceptical conclusion about the state of our democracy was not unavoidable, but depended on political parties humbling themselves, taking voters seriously, listening to them and shifting from critiquing each other to offering solutions to voters' biggest concerns.