Tue, 09 Apr 2024 Feature Article

Polling Pitfalls: A Critical Review of Global Info Analytics’ Special Zongo Report

Polling Pitfalls: A Critical Review of Global Info Analytics Special Zongo Report

Global Info Analytic (GIA) has positioned itself as a reliable source for opinion polling, yet there has been rapid acceptance of their research models by the media without rigorous assessment of their scientific validity concerning the 2024 general elections predictions. There are issues about the analytical methods employed by GIA, and this has prompted a closer examination to determine if their opinion polls might be misleading to the Ghanaian public. In light of these concerns, it is advised that readers review the Special Zongo Report released on November 29, 2023, available on GIA's website, to understand the potential inaccuracies and scientific shortcomings in their methodology.

The report, notably, targets constituencies with significant Zongo populations for its polling, employing purposive sampling which may not accurately capture the broader demographic landscape, thus raising questions about the sample's representativeness. The lack of detailed justification for the selection of these constituencies and the absence of a clear explanation of the statistical methods used to claim a 99% confidence level and a ±2.41% margin of error are critical omissions that undermine the study's credibility.

Moreover, presenting the poll results as unweighted skews the data, misrepresenting demographic diversity and potentially distorting the analysis. The reliance on a "likely voters" model, which includes both registered and unregistered voters while excluding non-voters, risks misestimating support levels for the various candidates and issues. The brief five-day period for conducting field interviews across seven constituencies further undermines the data's reliability, especially if significant events occurred during this time.

The demographic breakdown in the report reveals inconsistencies, particularly in representing the religious composition of Zongo communities, with an unexpectedly high percentage of Christian respondents (39%) compared to Muslim respondents (59%). This discrepancy raises questions about the report's accuracy in reflecting the Zongo community's demographic makeup. Additionally, the political affiliation of respondents shows a substantial lean towards the NDC (54%), suggesting a potential bias in the polling data. The claim that 17% of floating voters would overwhelmingly support Mahama, thereby achieving a 73% preference rate in the general elections, appears exaggerated and lacks empirical grounding.

Moreover, the significant endorsement of the 24-hour economy policy among respondents (71%) is highlighted in the report, but this finding is not surprising given that a majority of respondents are aligned with the NDC. The assumption that the 17% of floating voters would align with the NDC's base to support this policy indicates a possible overestimation of the policy's actual popularity among the general electorate.

In conclusion, the analysis by GIA, as presented in their Zongo Special Report, raises significant concerns about scientific rigour and representativeness. It’s crucial to approach their findings with a critical eye and question the methodologies and conclusions drawn, to ensure the public is not swayed by potentially misleading or unscientific opinion polls.

Isaac Ofori
Human Rights Advocate
BA, MA, MPhil, PhD Student (UEW, SCMS)