Contradicting opinion polls ploy to create a bandwagon effect

Barrack Muluka (Standard newspaper of June 2, 2017) wrote,

“Finally, I have been asked about the latest opinion polls. This is political mumbo jumbo. It should be ignored with the contempt that it deserves. For the claims in the polls do not sit happily together. Seventy per cent of Kenyans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Yet nearly 50 per cent will vote for the person driving Kenya in that wrong direction. Between Kenyans and the pollsters, someone is operating on icy porridge in the head.”

Those who appreciate political commentary in our dailies know that Barrack Muluka is one of the few intellectual pundits we are lucky to have. He writes with the modesty of a professional, the austerity of a religionist and the wit of an oracle.

With less than 35 days to the General Elections, each of the two main presidential contenders—Uhuru and Raila—is sure to win in round one and with a significant margin. That’s what they and their supporters say. Yet pollsters maintain that if elections were held today, none of them would meet the constitutional threshold of 50% plus 1.

Quite a politico-numeric jigsaw but not so much the issue here. It is not unlikely that either might fall short of the threshold. It is also not out of the ordinary that each believes to be the more popular. No one goes into an election hoping to lose. The truth about the (im)possibility of a round one win and of popularity of either candidates is one which only the 19 million registered voters will determine on the 8th of August.

The issue is that the claim by pollsters that a bigger percentage of Kenyans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction but that they will still vote for the person driving it in that direction refuse “to sit happily together.”

It is the right of every Kenyan to vote for whoever they choose. That’s undeniable. But if those Kenyans think that the country is hurtling to becoming a basket case and choose to re-elect its driver, then we are a country of nutsos. Otherwise, either pollsters are working at the behest of paymasters to create the impression that Kenyans have no better choice or they (pollsters) are themselves nutsos.

There are no two ways about it. Seven other Kenyans (Raila Odinga, Cyrus Jirongo, Ekuru Aukot, Abduba Dida, Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kavinga) have offered their candidature for the presidential position.

It’s a ploy to deceive the electorate to vote for so-and-so on the false pretense that they are popular and have a huge following—a bandwagon fallacy!