The Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) over the weekend through its Vice Chairman for Communications and Media Relations, Mr. Robert M. Sammie, challenged the validity of the International Political Polls’ (IPP) election polls.
Mr. Sammie said though establishing a system of opinion polls to predict election outcomes is a conventional concept that has worked in many countries around the world, it is strange that recent pollsters in Liberia are rather a miserable or a sad story to the forward march of our fledgling democratic process.
MOVEE said, “IPP seems to be a mere propaganda deployed to spew falsehood into the public domain, thinking that would be a drawback from the popularity of other potential presidential candidates, particularly our standard bearer, who is regarded by people in every county to be the most suited, experienced, caring, qualified candidate, in this presidential race.”
According to MOVEE, “The International Political Polls (IPP) is one of such a group that presents itself as a professional pollster, professing to have conducted polls for the recent Kenyan elections, Ghanaian and many others, including countries in Europe and Asia.”
The references IPP points to concerning work it claimed it has done are classic examples of what appears to be plagiarism and intellectual piracy intended to mislead the public that it is a credible agency, Sammy alleged.
Mr. Sammy said a research conducted by MOVEE showed that the IPP claim to have conducted polls for the recent Kenyan election is a cut and paste from a different website, which is independent of IPP.
Mr. Sammie said the information available on IPP website about polls conducted for Ghana elections was also cut and paste from another website.
MOVEE spokesman said the Ghana election polls that IPP is taking ownership of were conducted by a company called Goodman AMC. “And moreover, even the result reported on the French elections came from another website,” he said.
Meanwhile, MOVEE has drawn attention to an online media organization, “Bush Chicken,” which has called the IPP poll “fake” in an article titled: “Fake Poll Makes Rounds on FrontPage and Social Media.”
According to this article “There were many red flags about the poll, with the biggest being Liberty Party’s great showing. In no other poll, estimate, or past elections has Liberty Party performed that well, and the results are shocking.”
They went on to question the credibility of the pollster and its survey. “The name of the domain for the pollster’s website address is registered to Perfect Privacy, LLC, a Florida-based company that conceals the privacy of people who are registering their domain name, but pollsters generally want to defend the validity of their work and such secrecy is unusual.”
Bush Chicken further said, “The domain name was also registered on August 15, 2017, shortly before the polls were supposedly conducted; even though the company says it has been doing work since 2012.” Additionally, Mr. Sammie said the only instance where the pollster is being cited online was the recent article published by FrontPage Africa about its August poll on the pending Liberian elections.
“This is surprising given the claim that the pollster had conducted national polls in countries such as India and Ghana. What seems to be happening is that the Bush Chicken cited by MOVEE is that Frontpage gives online publicity to IPP, which then cites Frontpage as a source to give credibility to its polls. The article also said operators of IPP website seem to hide their identities.
“At the same time, there was no information found about any individual or contact information other than an email address that was found on the pollster’s website. The Bush Chicken has sent inquiries to the group through the contact, but has received no response.” The Bush Chicken then takes FrontPage Africa to task for publishing such a questionable poll. “Considering the questionable situation, it’s strange that FrontPage Africa published such report with just a little over a month to the elections,” the article said.
On the question of Frontpage Africa publishing a story without detail verification of the facts contained in the story, MOVEE said as far as they are concerned “FrontPage has repeatedly published articles about their Standard Bearer, for which the Party has repeatedly complained to the publisher of the newspaper.
“Interestingly, when IPP is reporting its fictitious opinion polls, one particular candidate tops the lead, but when it is Global News Network (GNN) reporting its opinion polls, then another particular candidate tops the list,” the party said.
“The public should draw its conclusion from this. This situation only points to one simple conclusion that these election opinion polls are not professionally done, but apparent attempts by political propagandists to project their choice of candidates as the leading candidates in the race,” he indicated.
MOVEE however cautioned, “Where we have seen claims being made to winning this election and with confrontational attitude of certain parties, these fake polls could lead to claims of being cheated when the right person wins the race through the poll that counts on October 10, particularly if that person, who is well known in every town and village in Liberia, but is not even regarded in the polls, comes out as the winner.
“MOVEE is in this race to win. And our ground game shows that we have broad support throughout the country. Our candidate is a visionary Liberian patriot with an unmatched record of competence, accountability, integrity, and performance.
“As we strive to consolidate and institutionalize democratic culture in our country, it is important that everything is done to properly inform the electorate than to mislead the reading public for personal gains. It behooves every newspaper to check the facts in stories they publish in order not to be used as a conduit for misinforming the public,” Sammie warned.