Dr. Theophilus Acheampong says the carefree public attitude of political parties towards the results of election opinion polls is different from how they take those results behind closed doors.
He said political parties in their private meetings take results from these opinion polls and analyze them side by side, which inform their strategy formulation.
Dr. Acheampong noted that, people affected by these polls try to keep an unperturbed attitude publicly, in order to send a positive message to its members of it unwavering determination to win the main elections.
“The interesting thing with political parties is, often within the public, they will either try to rubbish the poll, the methodology, or sometimes even target the credibility of the pollsters by lunching ‘ad hominem’ attacks.
“But what I also do know is that, when they have their strategic meetings, they do take these polls and put them side by side and begin to tease out the strategic implications of the polls. So there are two narratives, what the two main parties would come and say in the media in terms of the polls, and what they actually end up doing in terms of taking the results of the polls.”
Dr. Acheampong however cautioned that, opinion polls are not necessarily a reflection of the outcome of the elections. He noted that, opinion polls are simply the reporting of the thoughts of the some Ghanaians. He was quick to add that, results from opinion polls are valid depending on the methodology used and the margin of error reported.
“It’s very important for us to understand that, opinion polls and surveys are not necessarily forecasts and neither are they predictions. I think sometimes in the minds of a lot of citizens, we turn to conflict the two in terms of whether something is an opinion poll or survey; where you go and speak to people and you are just presenting what they say, verses building a quantitative model with a forecast that gives you a confident interval within which you can interpret your results.
“But opinion polls are very valid; it all comes down to the methodology that is deployed and much more importantly the margin of error that is also reported.”
There has been numerous election opinion polls conducted this year by various institution and individuals. Notable amongst these polls are the ones from the University of Ghana Political Science department, Centre for Social Science Research of the Kumasi Technical University, and Dr. Theophilous Acheampong.
Similar in all these polls is, incumbent Akufo Addo expected to win this year’s Presidential election in the first round, with an average of about 52% win of the total votes cast. NDC’s candidate, former President Mahama is also expected to come in second, with an average of 44% of the total vote cast.
The NDC has however rubbished these polls and affirmed its optimism of winning the Presidential seat come December 7. On the other hand, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has welcomed results from these polls but indicated that, they are not going to be complicit in its campaign and canvass for votes.
Read also: New Patriotic Party tipped to win by 52.3%