Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur’s comment that opinion polls threaten Ghana’s democracy is because those polls spell doom for the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in December’s polls, political science lecturer Dr Richard Amoako Baah has said.
Mr Amissah-Arthur, during the commissioning of a 550-bed boys’ dormitory for the Enyan Abaasa Technical Institute in the Central Region on Friday November 25, said poll surveys prepare party supporters for only one outcome and should the actual results from voting day turn out to be other than they expect, violence could break out since the mentality is created that the poll has been rigged against their preferred candidate.
He noted: “We have to appeal to our intellectuals. Some of the people are publishing serious opinion polls that are showing some parties that are winning, telling their supporters that if they lose then somebody might have done something wrong.
“That is also undermining the integrity of our elections, so we are appealing to all the people who are behind all these opinion polls to be careful about the country and its stability.”
In a response to the former Bank of Ghana (BoG) governor’s remarks, Dr Amoako Baah, speaking to Accra News, said: “He is saying so because they (the opinion polls) don’t favour [his party],” adding: “If they were in his favour, he would have given them the thumbs up.”
The academic said he was surprised hearing such comments from “a man who calls himself an economist”, given he should be acquainted with research procedure, which accommodates a “margin of error” – one of which is the tendency for some participants to lie in a survey – for which reason pollsters sometimes get their predictions wrong.
He explained that the advantage in pre-election surveys for candidates projected to be losing ground in an upcoming election is the opportunity for them to refine their campaign strategy.
“If you are campaigning and the opinion poll shows you are losing, it helps you. If you are informed early, it allows you to work harder to improve your poll ratings. It means your campaign message is not working,” said the former head of the Political Science Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, questioning: “So what is his point?”