Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lies, Damned Lies & Opinion Polls

Today the IMAS research organisation issued the first credible opinion poll to be taken since the July 28th election.  It seems to give some comfort to the Communist Party, delivering back to them the same number of seats they currently retain (48), and with it the ability to continue blocking a presidential election.  It also shows an apparent decline in support for the Liberal Party, supposedly due to mayor Chirtoaca's decision to obey the laws of economics and charge money for services rendered.

The real story of the poll is, however, very, very different.  A whole range of adjustments need to be made to the raw data.
  • The first thing that needs to be done is to allocate the undecided vote.  Traditionally in Moldova most of this goes to the non-communist parties; let's assume 2/3. 
  • Then we need to remove the absent voters and rescale accordingly.  The fourth column now gives us the share of the votes that would actually be cast:

The next step is to adjust for all the changes that will take place through the AIE government's moves to democratise the election process and the general environment in the country.
  • The first thing they will do is allow electoral blocs or develop some other mechanism such that all votes will actually count.  Let's assume they go down the bloc route and that parties with similar ideologies group together.
  • In the last two elections the international vote went over 90% in favour of non-communist parties and was sufficient to pull a seat away from the communists.  This time around, we can expect the international vote to be much bigger as the AIE moves to dramatically increase the number of overseas polling stations and possibly introduce postal voting.  Let's say twice as many international votes are cast.
  • The biggest effect on the outcome will be the environment in which the vote takes place.  We can expect that, in the near future, Teleradio Moldova will cease being a propaganda instrument and some of those currently in the dark about Voronin's crimes will be enlightened.  As pensions and salaries continue to be paid under an AIE government, we can expect that some of those who voted PCRM out of fear will now rethink.  As leading communists are held to account for the crimes of the last eight years, some supporters will turn against them.  Let's assume that 10% of the electorate switches allegiance from the PCRM to non-communist parties.

In the table above you can see the seats that each bloc would get taking these adjustments into account.  If we now redistribute these seats to the constituent parties of each bloc, we get the following.

The AIE coalition in this parliament would have between 64 and  71 seats and could elect a president without any help from the Communists.


  1. Two other interesting poll results:

    38% think that the AIE will attempt to reunite the country with Romania. The AIE can't do this as the PD for one wouldn't support it. The poll shows, however, how effective communist propaganda has been in this area and how many people still have the wool pulled over their eyes.

    For the first time in eight years Voronin isn't the most popular politician - Marian Lupu is is. Vlad Filat is also coming up quickly, while Iurie Rosca is clearly the most distrusted politician in the country.

  2. I take back my statement about the poll being credible - 70% of the respondents were unemployed and there was a serious gender imbalance as well (60% f / 40% m).

    What do you think happens if you ask the unemployed if the country is heading in the right direction....

  3. Is this poll available online?

  4. The pdf is at