NACTA pollster Dr Vishnu Bisram on Wednesday fended off criticism of his organisation and its methodologies levelled by UNC officials, by saying in a statement to Newsday: no one likes polls which are unfavourable to them.
“Generally, political parties and candidates in developing societies don’t like opinion polls that are not favorable to them.
“The latest poll in Trinidad was not favorable to the UNC as currently constituted. The nation feels if the party UNC were to be reconstituted under strong credible leadership, it will sweep the next elections.”
Bisram said a poll was an aggregation of views from a scientifically-constructed sample, conducted by interviewing people randomly to represent the composition of the population.
“All polls have a margin of error. The error depends on the confidence level and the sample sauce. Generally, polls are conducted at a 95 per cent confidence level. The larger the size, the smaller the sample error. In general, the margin of error for a 500 size sample is four per cent.”
He said pollsters generally state their methodology, with NACTA polls conducted in face to face interviews not by telephone.
“The gender construction was 50-50 male to female. The ethnic composition was 41 per cent Indian, 39 per cent African, 19 per cent mixed, one per cent other.
“If the poll had shown the UNC winning, would it have been attacked? Political parties are free to accept or reject the findings. It is merely a guide on popular support at a particular point in time. Parties may reject the findings at their own peril.”
Bisram said his latest poll had found the PNM and the Prime Minister extremely unpopular, but voters don’t want the UNC as an alternative.
“The PNM has not rejected the findings showing that party is unpopular. Most of the political figures in the UNC, in private, including more than half of its MPs, inform me that the findings are spot on.
“If the Opposition were united under an acceptable credible leader, like a Gary Griffith or Phillip Alexander or Vasant Bharath, or Bhoe Tewarie or Fuad Khan or some other national high profile leader, the PNM will be blown away,” Bisram said.
Bisram said the poll gave qualitative as opposed to quantitative data because interviewers were still in the fields.
“NACTA has been doing polls in Trinidad since 1995. It was founded by Trinidadian and Guyanese teachers in America to do research and organise lectures on socio-politico issues.
“The concept and initiative was that of a Trinidadian Vassan Ramracha. Several of the teachers, including Ramracha, did surveys in Guyana since 1990. Other teachers did surveys in Antigua, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts, etcetera. I did surveys in Mauritius, Fiji, India, New York, and other countries,” Bisram said.
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