Political polling new technology and old politics 2


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Presentation by Ibrahim Suffian in the KAS Workshop "Political Communication in Asia" (Bali 2010)

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Political polling new technology and old politics 2

  1. 1. Public Opinion PollingOld Politics and New Technology<br />KAS Political Communications Seminar<br />Bali, September 2010<br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />Introduction – Changes in the Political Landscape <br />Polling Accuracy <br />Issue and Strategy Selection <br />Polling & Public Opinion <br />Cyberspace and Public Opinion <br />Conclusions<br />
  3. 3. Introduction <br />Public Opinion Polling in SEAsia<br />Most established in Philippines and Indonesia, in the post Marcos/Suharto context <br />Also present in Thailand but limited in Malaysia <br />Varied acceptance of polling – strongly in most established countries but gaining ground even in Malaysia <br />
  4. 4. Introduction <br />Changes in Political Communications<br /><ul><li>Political landscape
  5. 5. Not likely to see emergence of ‘real’ political parties with ideologies and mass membership, though façade exists
  6. 6. Parties are moving from personalism, patronage & corruption to ‘modified’ hybrid parties with ‘electoral professional’ elements using latest media & marketing techniques
  7. 7. Traditional communication methods remain
  8. 8. Face to face campaigning
  9. 9. Mass rallies
  10. 10. But increasingly supplemented by new media technologies </li></li></ul><li>Introduction <br />Internet and Broadband Penetration<br />Source: Internet Worldstats.com<br />
  11. 11. Introduction <br />Top Social Network in Individual Markets by Percent Reach of Web Population<br />Source: ComScore World Metrix, Feb 2010<br />
  12. 12. Introduction <br />Estimated Twitter users in East Asia <br />Source: http://www.greyreview.com/2010/04/20/105779710-million-users-and-new-estimates-of-twitter-users-in-asia/<br />
  13. 13. Public Opinion PollingOld Politics and New Technology<br />Polling Accuracy<br />
  14. 14. Polling Accuracy <br />Some thoughts on accuracy:<br /><ul><li>A continuous concern of pollsters
  15. 15. Affected by respondents’ profile, sample assumptions and turnout models
  16. 16. Reflects bias?
  17. 17. E.g. wide variation of results gained by various pollsters in the Obama campaign
  18. 18. People who opt not to be polled as they don’t want to be seen not supporting a vogue candidate
  19. 19. Yet recent results in the US and nearby elections show decent accuracy </li></li></ul><li>Polling Accuracy <br />Issues affecting accuracy:<br /><ul><li>Representativeness of the sample (e.g. the 1992 UK elections where lower classes were overrepresented)
  20. 20. Sample characteristics did not match voter profile (e.g age, sex, social grade or ethnicity)
  21. 21. Method bias – quota sampling may have unintended bias introduced by the interviewer thus skewing results towards certain social groups. Can be overcome by probability sampling using random digit dial or in-home interviews
  22. 22. Access to respondents – in person, fixed line and cellphone respondents
  23. 23. In some countries, political fear has impact on polling accuracy
  24. 24. Ultimately polls are effective if respondents know their own minds – the more volatile the electorate, the less committed they are to responses</li></li></ul><li>Polling Accuracy <br />SWS on Philippine Presidential Elections 2010<br />
  25. 25. Polling Accuracy <br />LSI on Indonesian Presidential Elections 2009 <br />
  26. 26. Polling Accuracy <br />Merdeka Center on Malaysian General Elections 2008<br />
  27. 27. Public Opinion PollingOld Politics and New Technology<br />Issue Selection <br />
  28. 28. Issue Selection <br />Dependent upon <br /><ul><li>Strategy or approach during campaign
  29. 29. Local vs Provincial vs National Issues
  30. 30. Personality vs Policy
  31. 31. Audience and Messaging Considerations i.e “The Message Box”. ‘our strengths against opponents’ weaknesses’
  32. 32. Saliency of issues
  33. 33. Implications from right vs wrong track on undecided voters
  34. 34. Top of mind issues
  35. 35. Crosstabulated/referenced with targeted audiences </li></li></ul><li>Communications <br />Who will vote for us? Identifying the target<br />Determines:<br />Who they are – ethnic group, professional/social backgrnd, cliques, value/agenda <br />who speaks to them – leaders and personalities<br />what they talk about – issues, candidate, party <br />which medium to use – different forms of contact<br />Source: Stephanie Lynn, NDI Jakarta <br />Presentation “Key to Victory: Strategy and Tactics”<br />
  36. 36. Issue Selection Example – Sibu By Election May 2010<br />Q19. In this Sibu by-election, what are the TWO main considerations for you to vote? <br />
  37. 37. Issue Selection Example – Sibu By Election May 2010<br />Q20. In this Sibu by-election, please tell me TWO most important criteria in a candidate for you?<br />
  38. 38. Issue Selection Example – Sibu By Election May 2010<br />Q24. I am going to read you a list of issues. In your view, which TWO issues are the most important for you in this Sibu by-election? <br />
  39. 39. Issue Selection Example – Sibu By Election May 2010<br />Key considerations and parameters:<br />Limited time to cover all areas (only 9 days) <br />Poll found undecided voters among Malays are very limited, probably less than 6%, among the Chinese it was estimated at 15-17% really are still undecided – thus making the difference between winning and losing. <br />Messaging had to be tight - limited room to move up for both DAP and BN. DAP message focused on the undecided Chinese voters if it is to gain beyond the estimated 65% level of support needed to win. <br />
  40. 40. Issue Selection Example – Sibu By Election May 2010<br />Hence need to understand undecided Chinese voter mindset: <br /><ul><li>they tend to be 21-40 years old, better educated (at least secondary school) but many (20%) have degrees as well, many are women, mostly housewives - 27their are over middle income level (around rm3k - 5k monthly) 
  41. 41. No major difference between them and the rest of the DAP supporters (abt 55% Christian) 
  42. 42. They don’t care very much about politics and know very little (only 21%) abt the achievements of DAP-Pakatan in West Msia this has implications if one talks about national issues.
  43. 43. They do not like the state chief minister but have quite positive feelings for the prime minister
  44. 44. More importantly, 40% of them say candidate quality is most important factor over party or issues</li></li></ul><li>Issue Selection Example – Sibu By Election May 2010<br />Recommended Messaging<br />Campaign on the basis of candidate quality- highlight how the candidate is free from corruption and not afraid to speak up. also highlight how he is easily accessible (as focus groups show that it is one of the things they like). How the candidate understands the problems faced by ordinary families in making ends meet and the sacrifices they have to make to make a living, educate their kids and take care of their parents. suggest that he will fight for working families to get a fairer share of government help, improve quality of basic services like and education financial aid, etc – because he is just one of them. <br />
  45. 45. Issue Selection Example – Sibu By Election May 2010<br />Recommended Messaging<br /> Raise basic issues such as the flooding, the land titles for urban people, and  - highlight the candidate’s own track record of speaking up for the community, can bring government attention to the problems faced by residents and unafraid to face govt in helping the people. at all times, highlight how he will be a servant of the rakyat and not the politicians in the state capital or Putrajaya<br />Build the case for "fairness in government administration" that the candidate and the party will be speaking up to ensure that the government both state and federal will treat the people of Sibu fairly - ensuring that development really does benefit the people and not just those around political leaders. More importantly, bring home the message that the state can better manage its economy so that young people can stay home to work rather than leave home and go abroad to find their livelihoods. <br />
  46. 46. Issue Selection <br />MESSAGE DELIVERY<br />Voter contact activity<br />Issue is only one part of the campaign<br />Issues are not problems, they are solutions or key to resolution<br />Importance of the issue and who has the advantage?<br />Message discipline <br />Voter contact plan <br />Deliberate but flexible<br />Best use of resources ($, t, pax)<br />Organization makes or breaks the campaign – it drives the voter contact plan<br />
  47. 47. Issue Selection <br />Implications on New Communication Channels<br /><ul><li>Facebook – means to start campaigns, expose new ideas
  48. 48. Twitter – instant press release & activity report
  49. 49. SMS/Text – voter mobilization/information/propaganda
  50. 50. Websites – platform/news/propaganda
  51. 51. Significant cross platform sharing
  52. 52. Informal feedback channel
  53. 53. Content generated in new media is shared on to other medium
  54. 54. In Malaysia, 60+% of online content finds its way to other mediums in 2008</li></li></ul><li>Public Opinion PollingOld Politics and New Technology<br />Polling & Public Opinion<br />
  55. 55. Polling & Public Opinion <br />Do polls affect/sway the public? <br />YES <br /><ul><li>Use as basis of campaign strategy – audience research, issue selection, delivery method, slant and persuasion approaches
  56. 56. Hinges on credibility, saliency and consistency of messaging
  57. 57. Capacity of delivering organization </li></li></ul><li>Polling & Public Opinion <br />Do polls affect/sway the public? <br />NO <br /><ul><li>A lot of factors affect public views on issues, personalities and choices
  58. 58. Degree of exposure to media/access to information
  59. 59. Political fear and cultural context limit polling effectiveness
  60. 60. In small races, voters or delegates do not allow poll results have limited influence, patronage works better e.g political party elections </li></li></ul><li>Public Opinion PollingOld Politics and New Technology<br />Cyberspace & Public Opinion<br />
  61. 61. Cyberspace & Public Opinion <br />Techniques to monitor opinion in cyberspace <br /><ul><li>Traditional tools: ALEXA, Google Trends
  62. 62. A part of campaign team – monitoring and rapid response: Twitter, social networking websites, email and text
  63. 63. Implications on privacy and voter intimidation – use of laws to prohibit free speech in some countries – hard to limit</li></li></ul><li>Example: Malaysians Access to Internet Increasing <br />Internet access <br />2008<br />Younger<br />Higher educated<br />An increase of 13% from 2007<br />2007<br />31<br />
  64. 64. Example: 44% of Malaysian users surf the internet for news<br />How frequent do you surf the internet to get news & what sites you surf? <br />Respondent with internet access / responden melayari internet (n = 1767)<br />32<br />
  65. 65. Public Opinion PollingOld Politics and New Technology<br />Conclusions<br />
  66. 66. Conclusions<br />Political parties in the region are evolving, becoming hybridized and employing latest marketing and communication technology<br />Underneath it all, old structures remain<br />E.g. ethnic politics in Malaysia and clientelism and patronage networks <br />Yet society is changing and bringing about new challenges and pressures that confound old models <br />e.g. emerging class-based issues in Malaysia and Thailand<br />New media and communications technology is impacting voter mobilization<br />
  67. 67. Thank You<br />Questions?<br />