Monday, May 21, 2012

Can we trust these polls ?

Sometimes polls play important role in leading the opinion in the society than in reflecting the opinion in the society , this role is often noticed in time of the elections some undecided voters consider the polls a good source to choose the winning horse to bet on in the elections.

In the past two week the polls of Ahram center for strategic and political studies and Al Masry Al Youm's Baseera centre  showed a rise Ahmed Shafik, Mohamed Mursi and Hamdeen Sabbahi and a decline for both Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Abu El Fotouh despite Moussa was leading the polls.
According to Ahram Center  the leading candidates in the latest poll conducted from May 14th to 17th were : Moussa "31.7%" {going down} , Shafik "22.6%" {going up} , Mohamed Morsi "14.8%" {going up} , Abu El Fotouh "14.6%" {going down} and Sabbahi "11.7%" {going up}.
According to Baseera Center conducted in the same period : Ahmed Shafik "19.35%" , Amr Moussa "14.6%" , Abu El Fotouh "12.4%" , Sabbhi "9.5%" and Morsi "9%".
Personally I believe the voting bloc was going to vote to Omar Sulieman has gone to Shafik where us the conservative part of Abu Ismail's voting bloc has gone to Mursi as he is more conservative than Abu El Fotouh.

The question is can we trust these Egyptian polls ? 

 Unfortunately I feel that the representative samples we are speaking about in these polls here are too small compared to the number of eligible voters in Egypt which is nearly 51 million voters where as most of these samples due to expenses are between 1000 to 3000 maximum.
This small number does not help to cover better geographical and social classes. Already in some polls due to expenses the borders governorates "North Sinai, South Sinai ,Marsa Matrouh,Red sea and New Valley" despite their extreme importance.

By the way Brookings center in the States has published the results of a poll it conducted in early May 2012 that ended one day before the presidential debate. It is extremely interesting and important despite some of the numbers have been outdated.

The methods used to conduct the questionnaires some are questionable especially we are speaking about phone polls. Any one studied marketing research will know that the phone calls are not reliable because people usually want to finish quickly.

In brief and according to what is known in media these polls are truly conducted but sometimes if not all the times the results of these polls were being sent to the regime whether Mubarak's state security in the old days or to SCAF now. Some times these results were modified in order to published."hopefully this is not happening currently"

Of course I have my own poll that will end after couple of days and its results aren't modified at all ;)

7 comments:

  1. I don't trust the polls because we are beginners with all this stuff, & 'cause am pretty sure some of them are biased and their figures are intentionally misleading.

    There are 2 points mentioned above I'd like to clarify :

    1- The sample size is always within the range of few hundreds to 2000 in polls conducted worldwide. What matters is how representing of the electorate a sample is rather than its size.

    2- No polls are conducted in the border Governorates for security reasons I think, not the costs. Also, they are not that important because they represent a very small fraction of the total electorate.All 5 govs. you mentioned account for like 1% in total

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  2. The sample size is good, not perfect but good. The problem is the distribution of those surveyed. I don't think they're manipulating the polls on purpose, but rather they don't contact those living in the places that makes one win the elections. Probably a journalist too lazy to do his work the right way.

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  3. As for me I don't believe or trust these polls because they don't represent society and they aren't honest.

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  4. I suspect that the polls are in part giving a misleading impression as a result of the socio-economic groups that they end up reflecting to a greater degree. The polls about the parliamentary elections were off by a considerable margin and the same could end up happening with the presidential election, though maybe not to as large of a degree. If the polls are to be believed, Amr Moussa apparently has all along come close to sealing the election.

    I wonder whether certain pollsters seeing results they want to see reduces incentives to try to improve accuracy. In other words, they do not necessarily outright consciously manipulate the result but flawed methodology produces an outcome they like. Thus, they becom less interested in getting closer to the truth. The problem is that this ends up affecing how people vote since it influences perceptions of who are the front-runners.

    That Brookings poll is interesting in that it contradicts another poll (one that was overhyped) on the issue of whether the Turkish model or Saudi one is preferred.

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  5. Another thing is that people tend to be quick to rationalize fluctuations in the polls and invent reasons so as to believe any result, even if there are grounds to doubt it.

    For example, say a poll is actually quite flawed and a sudden dip occurs in one candidate's percentage, but imagine that this has little to do with reality and much to do with polling techniques. Those that do not question the poll have a tendency to keep searching for some answer as to why it is supposedly easily explicable. Only when the actual election comes and produces a result substantially at variance with such polls do these people start to beginning doubting their methods.

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  6. We have a 120,000 sample for Egyptians abroad. morsy 37% fotoh 26%

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  7. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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