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Shaping Public Discourse With Rigour – iPoll’s Response To Smears In Pro-NPP Article    

By Kwame Ofori Appiah
Shaping Public Discourse With Rigour – iPoll’s Response To Smears In Pro-NPP Article    

We note with interest a publication on ghanaweb.com (11/01/2019) which seems to be a response to our latest published polls on the performance of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration as perceived by Ghanaians.

While it is unclear if that is the party's official position, it is apparent that the writer is partial to the party and is responding on its behalf. As an independent polling firm, it is neither our place nor in our interest to trade jabs with any political party. However, for the sake of our corporate reputation, it is important that we respond to the substance of the charges leveled against us in the response.

Let us first of all state that iPoll, and the work we do, is not aimed at the achievement of any particular goals, political or otherwise. Our intention is merely to provide a rigorous format within which public opinion can be monitored, measured and analysed. We are keenly aware of the lack of credible polling data in the country, which has several adverse effects on public discourse and policy making. Our intention is to correct that and to that extent, we can understand the skepticism that greets many published surveys. This is why we provide far greater transparency in our reports than any other comparable firm does and we welcome any scrutiny that is geared towards improving and consolidating our efforts.

To be clear, iPoll utilises an online format to collect public opinion. This is neither new nor problematic. In more sophisticated jurisdictions, online polling is becoming a necessary complement to traditional methods and in some cases, bearing increasing weight. As noted by the Pew Research Centre, one of the most globally acclaimed research agencies, traditional modes of polling are decreasing due to low response rate and in the last ten years “surveys conducted over the internet have increased dramatically” (Pew Research Centre, 2019). Majority of the world’s acclaimed polling organisations or their affiliates have increasingly deployed online methodologies for polls, and they have proven to be reliable; and so are polls conducted using the iPoll platform in Ghana.

For each of our polls, we have provided to the public, widely accessible opportunities for anyone so inclined to share their views. These are available on social media, shared by text and email and most communication platforms. This naturally allows some self-selection and draws from a more motivated pool, which is hardly any different from the choices that respondents make when contacted by phone or accosted on the streets.

All of this information is provided in our reports. In addition, we provide comprehensive demographic data, which reveals the make-up of all respondents - including but not limited to age, gender, employment status and region of residence. Again, these are freely available. Further information on our processes can be found here and on https://www.modernghana.com/news/908046/how-does-ipoll-work-a-brief-primer.html .

Should the NPP or indeed any other body or individual be interested, we are more than happy to provide live insight into how our polls are taken and to assure them that the results can neither be "skewed" or misreported for any ulterior motive. Indeed, the writer of the response could have saved himself the trouble by simply sending an email or placing a call to us before making these allegations. Indeed, we are so confident in our methodology and conclusions that the raw data of responses are freely available on our website, ipollgh.com and can be found here .

On why the research does not cover any of the government's interventions, we struggle to see how a survey that asked a simple yes or no question on how voters felt that government and its key appointees were performing, could be expected to make a pronouncement on particular policies. Such a question was simply not polled. We should add however, that when we did ask about the Free Senior High School policy, we found 73% in favour, a result that was credible and pleasing enough for the Daily Guide to report on its front page and online ( https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/73-Ghanaians-okay-Free-SHS-Survey-693313 ).

As to comments about Dr Kobby Mensah's professional impartiality, we find it sad that the writer chooses to deploy falsehoods and unfounded accusations merely to discredit information he or she finds unpalatable. Dr Mensah is not nor has ever been an advisor to or manager of Mr Bagbin or any other candidate's campaign. He's not a member of any party and has not made it his mission to discredit any party. What he has always done is provide commentary on national issues based on his extensive knowledge, experience and exposure. His public comments are there for all to see and decide whether they are driven by a commitment to our country or any group within it.

For the writer to suggest that Dr. Mensah has seen nothing good from the NPP government, or has always seized the opportunity to make NDC look good, is not supported by fact or history. Readers can perhaps judge from the following links to some of his media discussions.

Creation of new ministries is strategic - Dr Kobby Mensah

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Creation-of-new-ministries-is-strategic-Dr-Kobby-Mensah-500567

NPP owns free SHS idea; must repeat same 2016 – Political Strategist

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/NPP-owns-free-SHS-idea-must-repeat-same-2016-Political-Strategist-302116

NDC’s ‘adversarial’ relationship with media skewed support towards NPP – Political analyst

https://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2017/october-24th/ndcs-adversarial-relationship-with-media-skewed-support-towards-npp-political-analyst.php

Opulence in Sunyani would cost NDC votes - Lecturer

https://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2016/september-17th/opulence-in-sunyani-would-cost-ndc-votes-lecturer.php

Kwame Ofori Appiah

Lead Pollster

iPollgh

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