Consolidating the young democracies of southern Africa depends largely on developing a culture that supports, defends and sustains the practices, procedures and institutions of representative popular government. Until now, however, we have known very little about what southern Africans think about democracy, their new democratic institutions, or how they compare democracy with what they had before. In order to fill this information void, a consortium of national research partners from seven countries across the region has created the Southern Africa Democracy Barometer (SADB). The SADB measures public attitudes to democracy and its alternatives, conducts evaluations of the quality of governance and economic performance, analyzes perceptions of the consequences of democratic governance on people’s everyday lives, and collects information about a range of actual and potential economic and political behaviors. This project and the larger research consortium are coordinated by the Public Opinion Service of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA).