Fake Poll Lifts Zardariís Rating

Fake Poll Lifts Zardariís Rating

From: Samad Khurram
Sent: Sunday, October 04, 2009 9:05 PM
To: DI Press
Subject: Pakistan poll inquiry

Dear Sir,

I am interested in finding out more about an opinion poll allegedly conducted by Democracy International in Pakistan – please refer to the news item below. I am wondering if such a poll was actually conducted by Democracy International with the help of Public Poll International or whether this was a fake news item published in the Pakistani media.

Zardari far ahead in popularity: poll

Monday, October 05, 2009
ISLAMABAD: President Zardari has emerged as the most popular personality on the Pakistani political landscape as 51 per cent of the people termed him the most popular personality.

Democracy International and Public Poll International have conducted a survey to gauge public opinion about President Asif Ali Zardari to US and Kerry-Lugar Bill. The first question was about the popularity of President Asif Ali Zardari. The findings revealed that 51 per cent of the respondents’ favoured President Zardari, 47 opposed it while 3 per cent showed no response.

The second question was about President Zardari’s visit to the US and his meetings with US officials. The results showed that 33 per cent favoured it while 60 per cent went against his visit.

The third question was about President Asif Ali Zardari’s address to the UN. The findings showed that 64 per cent favoured it while 33 per cent went against his address. The fourth question was about the Friends of Democratic Pakistan.

The findings revealed that 58 per cent answered, “yes it was fruitful” while 40 per cent answered negative. Similarly, to the fifth question about the Kerry-Lugar Bill, 67 per cent respondents answered in favour of the bill while 28 per cent answered in negative.

Samad Khurram
Harvard College
394 Winthrop House Mail Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
E-Mail: *****@fas.harvard.edu


From: Smith, Evan
Date: Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 2:19 PM
Subject: RE: Pakistan poll inquiry
To: Samad Khurram

Mr. Khurram,

Thank you for your inquiry into the news piece you quoted. The report is incorrect in attributing such a poll to Democracy International. We have not participated in such a poll, and indeed we first learned of its existence shortly before you contacted us. Democracy International does not know how or why this poll was connected to us, and we have not been contacted by The News or any other Pakistani news organization about this matter.

Again, thank you for your interest in Democracy International.


Evan Smith
Program Officer
Democracy International
**** ********* Lane
Bethesda, MD ****** USA

Samad’s Letter published in The News


Zardari’s Popularity – by Samad Khurram
Tuesday, October 06, 2009

This is in reference to a news item published in this newspaper on Oct 5 titled “Zardari far ahead in popularity: poll”. The news item claims that a poll was conducted by Democracy International and Public Poll International at an unspecified date with an unknown sample size and polling method. The poll seems to suggest that the president enjoys a popularity level of 51 per cent in Pakistan. Since this figure completely contradicts the results of well-recognized pollsters such as the IRI, I decided to investigate the poll further.

A google search for “Public Poll International” in quotes (the specified search term must be in quotes to find any results which use these words in the same order) only gives the above news story and its reprints on blogs. There seems to be no mention of “Public Poll International” anywhere on the internet, let alone a website of the organisation. It tends to suggest that such a name of a polling organisation was never used except in the above news story.

On the Democracy International (DI) website (http://democracyinternational.com) one can easily see what this organisation does and its current projects. For Pakistan, DI had conducted three projects related to the elections of 2008 and it does not mention any particular project which involves public opinion polls in Pakistan. There are no press releases regarding this poll, nor are there any documents on the polling data, methodology or other essentials of an accurate poll. DI seems to be more interested in observing elections than finding out what a particular US Congress bill means to the people. Before publishing such items, the authenticity of such polls should be investigated and established.

Samad Khurram

Harvard University,
Cambridge, MA, US

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