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#OtvOPINIONS: 2015, Why UK research body gave Jonathan victory, by Bolanle Ogunshaki

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Over the weekend, pro-Buhari media, bottle-fed by
its ‘native doctors’ not unexpectedly gave victory to
General Muhammadu Buhari, presidential flag-
bearer of the opposition All Progressives Congress
(APC) ahead of the March 28 election. Under a
democratic setting this form of expression is
permitted. But it’s no secret it has a dangerous flip
side. When the over-inflated balloon of expectation
is punctured on the altar of cold reality, especially in
an unsophisticated political environment like
Nigeria’s, what follows is often predictable.
This is where the security agencies have to be on
top of their game to prevent unnecessary
bloodshed. We must learn not to repeat mistakes
that have dogged the nation’s electoral history.
Buhari’s defeat in the 2011 poll is a glaring, most
recent example. One of the most prominent
applications of survey research is election polling. In
election years, much of scientific polling focuses on
people’s engagement in the election, opinions about
the candidates, views of the campaign and voter
preferences.
Scientific pre-election polling (not the local voodoo
variant) provides one of the few times when
pollsters can assess the validity of their work by
measuring how well their polls match election
outcomes. But, polls designed to measure voter
intentions serve up some special challenges. Sitting
around a good conference table, over good coffee
and whisky and allocating numbers to a favoured
candidate or party is clearly doing a major
disservice to the science of election polling.
Although election polls attract a great deal of
attention for their ability to predict the outcome of
elections, their most important function is to help
journalists and citizens understand the meaning of
the campaign and the election. Polls help to explain,
among other things, what issues are important, how
candidate qualities may affect voters’ decisions,
and how much support there is for particular policy
changes.
It is against this background that the recent survey
by UK-based Kevin, Charlyn & Kimberly Associates,
a research and political risk consultancy firm which
projected victory in the March 28 poll for President
Goodluck Jonathan comes under analysis. The firm
which utilized a combination of ‘monkey survey’ and
‘Political Risk Index’ to forecast the election
projected that President Jonathan will win by 13 per
cent probability if everything remains constant.
While addressing a press conference in Abuja,
recently, Mr. O.C Vince, Kevin, Charlyn & Kimberly
Associates’ Vice President for West Africa explained
the firm’s survey methodology and stressed it has
no partisan interest in the outcome of the election as
it is left for the people of Nigeria to decide. The
company said it decided to conduct the survey
because of the general global interest the Nigeria
election has generated.
His words: “Many people around the world,
including politics and business leaders are focused
on Nigeria. They want to see how the ongoing
democratic process is managed. Hopefully our non-
partisan efforts will help strengthen democracy,
encourage peaceful and credible election and enable
the different contending parties manage their final
push towards the May 28 Presidential Election as
scheduled.”
Firming up the objectivity of the survey, Vince
correctly noted that the ruling People’s Democratic
Party appears to be facing its toughest political
challenge in 16 years.
Expatiating on the credibility of the test, the Vince
stated: “We randomly conducted a nationwide
opinion poll focusing on the six geo-political regions
of Nigeria: North east, North-West, North-Central,
South-West, South-East and South-South. The
sampled population were asked three questions
centering on human rights, the economy and
security. Read more on THE OPINIONS

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