Owing much to the concept of ‘paying heed to issues that don’t need our attention’, politics of surveys is yet another trend in Pakistan. The problem is that such surveys can’t be exaggerated to an extent where they can serve the purpose of forecasting election results and they can’t be ignored completely by the parties that aim at contesting in the elections. Therefore, the findings and abstractions interpreted from the political polls/surveys should be projected according to their limitations. Each new survey becomes a topic of debate in the mainstream media. Anchor persons and analysts start gauging the people-to-politician interactivity level on the basis of these surveys. Where the results are being effectively publicized, due attention should also be given to the research methodology and sample size used by the Institutes. In addition to this, there are some general questions that are completely ignored while discussing the results.
In October 2012, a survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) notified about the increase in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz‘s (PML-N) popularity while a slight decline in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf‘s support. Another startling revelation was that 91 percent of those who were included in the sample size, believed that Pakistan was heading in the wrong direction. There has been no substantial debate over this disappointment attached with the people who are likely to caste their votes in the upcoming elections as they all belong to an age group of 18 +. The sample size of the survey conducted between July and August 2012 was 600,1. The latest one was conducted from a pool of 4,997 people from November 2 to November 22, 2012. Apart from the decrease in sample size there was also a shift in the public opinion over the most pressing issues faced by the country. In the previous survey, Pakistanis considered energy crisis and inflation as the two most challenging issues in the country. In contrast, the latest survey reveals that now “terrorism” is a major problem of Pakistan and the research concluded that people aren’t in favour of new provinces.
Another thing left unnoticed is that the IRI missed Federally Administered Tribal areas and Chitral due to political turmoil and volatile security situation in those regions. This still leaves a question mark on the complete popularity graphs of various political parties on regional/provincial basis. The furore over this survey, isn’t an objective way to portray the findings. However, it does provide some ‘points to ponder’ to the national political leadership. For the masses it is among other electioneering gambits.
- Iri Survey: How Pakistanis Think (opinion-maker.org)
- IRI survey says PML-N most popular party of country (sananews.net)