Monday, February 20, 2006

Unreliable Ukrainian Opinion Polls

In the first half of February, Ukrainian mass media published 13 OP's which have widely varying results:

PR 22.9 - 32.3%
BYuT 10.4 - 24.9%
NSNU 9.4 - 21.2%
Socialists 4.6 - 8.8%
Communist 2.7 - 7.4%
Lytvyn bloc 2.6 - 5.7%
Vitrenko bloc 2.2 - 6.9%

Observers [Institute of Mass Information, Grani+, Ukr Pravda, and others] suggest that this probably due to deliberate manipulation and deceit by more than one of the political parties in the race and 'naughtiness' by some of the pollsters, several of whom may even be 'virtual'.

The disparity in the OPs devalues the reliability of them all, which may be quite important because opinion polls during the 2004 Presidential elections persuaded some Yushchenko supporters that the elections had been rigged - helping spark off the O.R.

Evidence that the battle over OPs is being taken seriously is provided by events which took place several days ago when Partiya Regioniv successfully petitioned a court in Simferopol, Crimea to suspend the broadcasting license of the largest and most popular non-state Crimean TV station -'Chyernomorskaya' until the end of the election campaign.[A draconian measure].

Apparently one of its programs transgressed laws on Crimean parliamentary elections in announcing results of opinion polls. Journalists organizations say the program's producers and viewers are caught in a battle between the TV station's owners and political groupings, but call on all sides to try and resolve the dispute, for the benefit of viewers.

BYuT in particular have condemned the ruling, and have called on the President of Ukraine and all journalists to question it.

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