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Was Gallup International mistaken? - Panorama

By Eduard Zaloshnja

Nano’s answer to the generosity of the American Government, that funded an NDI poll, was a disrespectful ingratitude: Gjergji Koja, the person he had chosen to be the public face of his party, attacked the credibility of NDI, mentioning Milloshevic’s funding. Why? Because the results of the poll were not suited to his boss. The generosity of the British and Dutch governments, funding two MJAFT polls, had the same destiny. But this time, the ingratitude was Nano’s identical twin. The legal conflict between Gallup International (whose branch did the polls in Albania ) and Gallup Organization, both of these founded by Dr. George Gallup, served as a cause to attack MJAFT polls.





The fact that Albanian politics attacked the organizations that made the polls, created indignation in the diplomatic circles in Tirana. According to the Albanian-American Gary Kokalari, in the case of the MJAFT polls, even an important American congressman expressed a high indignation towards the attacks made by the Berisha camp. And the indignation of the foreign diplomats was comprehensible, if we take into consideration the fact that it was their money that was being spent to make public polls part of the Albanian democratic culture. But even though this has to do with the standard democratic culture, the two dinosaurs of the Albanian politics, showed that they are provincial politicians.





Since public polls are an important institution of every liberal democracy, and since they have been attacked in Albania from the beginning, it is very important for the accuracy of the pre-elections polls to be analyzed in retrospective, now that the elections are over. The first poll (NDI’s) showed that the vote in proportional would be higher for the Right (DP, National Movement for Development, etc.) than for the Left (SP, Socialist Movement for Integration, etc.). Actually, the real results of the elections showed that the Left got 3 % more than the Right, in proportional (49% the Left, 46 % the Right and 5 % the two parties of the national minorities). However, this inconsistency can be partly explained with the fact that the NDI poll took place before the electoral Congress of the SP, and before starting the electoral battle with Berisha.





The second poll (the first conducted by MJAFT), showed that the balance in proportional had changed, and the Left had 4 points more than the Right. You could not expect a very high accuracy from this poll either; 17 % of the interviewees had refused to answer. Whilst the third poll (the second conducted by MJAFT), deserves a deeper analysis, because it was made public 10 days before the elections and because only 7 % of the potential voters, refused to say their favorite political party.


Combining the answer about the favorite party with the question of the probability of participating in the elections, also spreading in a proportional way the undecided voters, the following table can be compiled, with the analytic data, collected two weeks before the elections, from the branch of Gallup International. And for comparison, the data from the factual counting of the votes in proportional, certified till today from the CEC, are put on the side of the table. 


The voting according to the polls


The actual results

DP Coalition
SP Coalition
UHMP and others

UHMP and others

 As the table points out, the data based on the analysis of the Gallup International branch, has been very accurate. This way, according to this data, 37 % of the factual voters, would vote SP in proportional. And in fact, 37.3 % voted the coalition lead by this party; a perfect accuracy. And the forecast for the National Movement for Development was very accurate; the foreseen percentage was almost identical with the result. Only the prediction for the DP coalition and SMI did not have perfect accuracy, but it was within the margin of the accepted statistical mistake. As far as the smaller political parties, there is no need to talk about them, since the limit of mistake is +/- 2.6 %.



The above analysis shows that the first public polls done in Albania have passed the accuracy test. For this reason, both political camps have to apologize publicly to the organizations that took the initiative of doing these polls, who instead of congratulating them, attacked them in the most vulgar way. And, if both our political camps would do this, they will give an encouraging sign that they are starting to adapt the democratic culture, which is very necessary to become a part of the continent we live in.


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