“Obviously, the ABAC polling methodology might also be bit suspect, or maybe no one in Isaan answered the phone when the pollsters called,” says Nganadeeleg, a neutral blogger-who trash both Abisit and Thaksin-about ABAC finding that 70% of E-Sarn people supports Abisit.
Polls Go Ballistic
Lots and lots of polls have been coming out lately. That is you can always count on polls to go ballistics when society is in turmoil. But some polls seem real and other seem real crazy. Or is it really about people having a difficult time accepting the poll?
Nganadeeleg, a blogger who helps keep me real, said that Thai polls can be wrong. He says like with the poll saying 70% of E-Sarn people supports Abisit is just “not right.”
Well how can that be, because pollster uses a statistical correct method don’t they?
So I called Pong, a friend who does marketing research for one of Thailand’s biggest conglomerate and asked him does he trust the Thai poll results. And he said he never trust anything in Thailand unless he did it himself. So I asked him why was that-is it because Thais are un-trustworthy?
And he simply said it is about the level of professionalism.
He said, around the world, the most respected polls are a business that needs to make profit-and so they need to be right. But he said, in Thailand, it is sort of like a public relation thing for the schools and universities.
But Thai universities are highly politicized units?
Pong said there has bee a great deal of debate in the industry on the subject and what he will say is only that at his market research unit, “I put new people through a very tough course on ethics and objectivity.”
Poll Wasting Their Times?
“Look Terry, E-Sarn is about 30%, South 20%, Central 20%, North 20%. The problem is that the 40% of South and Central are all for the right wing. Then the 50% of E-Sarn and North, you get 40% for the reds and 10% for the right wing. So when a pollster goes and ask the Thai across the country, it will be for the right wing.”
So I asked him why the poll says 70% of E-Sarn people support Abisit-because that is clearly wrong for any person with reason. I mean did someone bought off the poll?
“No necessary Terry, but again it is about the level of professionalism. Polling is about not just random calls to people but it is also about the right sample group. Most pollster in Thailand is great at random sampling, but horrible at getting it right in hitting the right sampling group.”
What he meant is that the population distribution of the people of E-Sarn isn’t like in Bangkok-so it is really difficult to get a real representation of people’s opinion. “I trust the polls when it comes to Bangkok, but for the country, never.”
Poll and Politics
So we started talking about politics-which is very different from poll results.
“Terry, poll is like a popularity vote if it is done correctly. Politics is about a lot of things more than that so don’t expect the Thai poll to tell you much. Like look at the past and you just see how wrong they can be all the time and how different Thai polls results can be, even when they go out and do the same thing.”
So should Kasit, Thailand’s foreign minister being investigated for terrorism, resign because 60% said in polls that Kasit should resign?
“Well if the polls are correct 70% of the people still wants Abisit to stay on, and so that is pretty strong and so my guess is that Abisit is leveraging his support to keep Kasit in place.”
In common language, it means Abisit is willing to take a few point hit to his 70% support to keep Kasit goin.
But what of the Thai political process-are the right wing hurting themselves by wanting less representation, but more appointment of politicians-from a pollster point of view?
“It depends really, but if Thai politics is based on popular vote, the South and Central will be keep the Democrat and Chart Thai Pattana pretty much in control of Thailand.”
But is Poll Useful?
“Many times they get it right-but then you start counting on them to get it right. Then you just simply trust them, and that is when it gets dangerous because you loose your voice and become a subject of the poll results. That is a big mistake because you start to do things according to the poll results, rather than what you might do otherwise.”
So who is right on the money when it comes to polls in Thailand?
“Nobody, but on politics the closest is the poll by the Thai police. I don’t know how they do it, but maybe they ask all those police all over Thailand what they see going on. It is not random or statistically based but they get a very good cover of the sampling group. But then they may twist it on purpose for political reason.”