The Polling Business

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DR. Fuad Bawazier, MA
Economist and Former Finance Minister in Cabinet Development VII

IO – This is a response to the questions asked regarding the vastly differing results from presidential election polls. For example, the polling from ILC-TV One which was very transparent and participated in by over 100 thousand people compared to LSI polling results where the participants were only a little more than 1000. Explanations for each, some scientific and some just nonsense, caused the public to be even more confused).

Not all surveys are for sale, however I am sure that the majority are ‘on the market’. This is one of the reasons why there are often different results between polls, as it depends on who is paying who. Sometimes only certain parts are for sale, while the rest is published as is. Only the most attentive can discern the deception going on here. There are also polling institutes that play rough, without shame, and even have a figure laughing about it in front of the media, they usually work as consultants and the like, and invoice accordingly. There are also those who are of the same ideology or the same SARA (tribe, religion, race, group) or just support one of the candidates. Others are subtler in their approach, although all are seen as commercial entities, even if the polling is not done directly by the institute itself but rather by publishing or research and development institutes. To cover up their wrongdoings (as to be seen as objective and credible), usually they point to their clean results, while the tampered ones (usually created to manufacture public opinion before election day) are never brought up or are even forgotten. After all there are no repercussions and the public are quick to forget. So why be afraid? This is how they think.

These businesses are suspected of making a massive profit, making their owners live prosperously and flamboyantly. There are many of my politician friends who have been duped. Thankfully, I always reject propositions from these pretended professionals. However, there is a truly professional, honest and integrity filled polling institute who will not be bought or told what to do. Still, somehow its figure was almost killed by a hit and run by an unknown person on the toll. An old tactic still in use which I myself have been a victim of.

I suspect the “Indonesian polling world” situation will still continue for some time unless an authority takes strong action, such as creating laws for polling institutes and are unafraid to punish those who violate them.

As a result, don’t be fooled by polling results in the presidential election. Those still sane should remain critical.