Professor Robert Mattes


Personal statement

Born and educated in the United States, I spent 25 years researching and teaching in South Africa, before moving to Strathclyde in 2016.  My research focuses on issues and challenges of sustaining democracy, by studying voting, public opinion, and elected legislatures, in the developing world in general, and Africa and  South Africa in particular.


South Africa : a united front? A divided government
Mattes Robert, Glenn Ian
Political Communication and COVID-19 Governance and Rhetoric in Times of Crisis (2021) (2021)
Party footprints in Africa : measuring local party presence across the continent
Mattes Robert, Lockwood Sarah Jane, Kroenke Matthias
Party Politics (2021)
The consequences of partisanship in Africa
Mattes Robert, Kroenke Matthias
Research Handbook on Political Partisanship (2020) (2020)
A lost decade for third-wave democracies?
Chu Yun-han, Huang Kai-Ping, Lagos Marta, Mattes Robert
Journal of Democracy Vol 31, pp. 166-181 (2020)
Public opinion and democratic legitimacy
Mattes Robert
Routledge Handbook of Democratization in Africa (2019) (2019)
In whose interest? Gender and mass-elite priority congruence in Sub-Saharan Africa
Clayton Amanda, Josefsson Cecilia, Mattes Robert, Mozaffar Shaheen
Comparative Political Studies Vol 52, pp. 69-101 (2019)

More publications

Research interests

I work on issues of democratization primarlily through the tools of survey research but also employ other methods of institutional analysis.  I am co-founder and Senior Adviser of Afrobarometer, a regular survey of public opinion in 35 African countries ( I am also co-founder and co-Principal Investigator of the African Legislatures Project, a study of legislatures and legislators in 17 countries(  Finally, I am the founder and Principal Investigator of the South African National Election Study, a longitudinal series of post-election surveys dating back to South AFrica's first democratic election of 1994 (  These studies are also carried out in association with the Comparative National Elections Project, and Comparative Study of Electoral Systems project.

Professional activities

World Politics (Journal)
Peer reviewer
British Journal of Political Science (Journal)
Peer reviewer
International Journal of Transitional Justice (Journal)
Peer reviewer
International Political Science Review (Journal)
Peer reviewer
American Political Science Review (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Democratization (Journal)
Peer reviewer

More professional activities


Political Parties in Africa
Mattes, Robert (Principal Investigator) Seekings, Jeremy (Principal Investigator) Lockwood, Sarah Jane (Principal Investigator)
African Legislatures Project
Mattes, Robert (Principal Investigator) Mozaffar, Shaheen (Principal Investigator) Barkan, Joel (Principal Investigator)
Global Barometer Surveys
Chu, Yun-han (Principal Investigator) Mattes, Robert (Principal Investigator) Lagos, Marta (Principal Investigator) Haerpfer, Christian (Principal Investigator) Tessler, Mark (Principal Investigator) Shastri, Sandeep (Principal Investigator)
Mattes, Robert (Principal Investigator) Gyimah-Boadi, E. (Principal Investigator) Bratton, Michael (Principal Investigator) Logan, Carolyn (Co-investigator) Dulani, Boniface (Co-investigator) Mitullah, Winnie (Co-investigator)
A regular survey of representative samples of citizens in 35 countries across Africa that measures people's well-being, and their preferences, evaluations and experiences with elected leaders and political institutions.
South African National Election Study
Mattes, Robert (Principal Investigator) Schulz-Herzenberg, Collette (Principal Investigator)
Comparative National Elections Project
Mattes, Robert (Co-investigator) Gunther, Richard (Principal Investigator) Beck, Paul (Principal Investigator) Magalhaes, Pedro (Principal Investigator) Moreno, Alejandro (Principal Investigator)

More projects