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Enrst & Young Expatriates Survey – Ukraine

December 15, 2012

Enrst & Young are carrying out a little survey amongst expatriates in Ukraine.

I have written about polls and surveys before, 18th July to be exact, and what weight, if any, can be given to them:

“………..My point, such as it is, is to look at any particular poll not only in comparison with others, but also in and of itself, as the whole rather than an abstracted and highlighted part.

This brings me to another point. If a certain poll widely touted holds very little comparison to a number of others, then one has to consider it with a degree of caution. The exception is hardly ever the rule and therefore a poll that seems to be the exception may not be a true representation of opinion through either a faulty academic model or a deliberate manipulation of the model upon which it is based or simply a fluke set of results.

Such manipulation can be deliberately caused by polling in cities known to favour party A or B and despite the poll then stating it was conducted in numerous cities around the nation, it was in fact deliberately skewed. Another way is to include a disproportionate number of men or women, people of certain age ranges, a high number of employed verses unemployed etc.

Another reason a poll may seem beyond the normative results of all the others is the manner in which it was conducted. People may react differently to a telephone poll than to a poll in the street or via the Internet. It may also be down to the questions themselves. A slightly different wording or different emphasis on certain words when the question is asked can bring quite different results. The nuance of language can and does effect the objectivity of a poll and the statistics they produce. Something all too often overlooked.

Thus we can unwittingly be trying to compare apples with oranges, a fact normally hidden by party spokespeople or the media.

There is also the issue of the actual size and make-up of the poll. A poll of 1000 normally is interpreted to be plus or minus 3 points. What that actually means when comparing polls is that there could, at the extremes, be an academically sound 6 point gap between two entirely legitimate polls. Something not to be forgotten.

The composition of these polls also matters when claims are made relating to “every region”. As an example, polling company X carries out a poll across Ukraine of 1000 people. Of those 1000 people across the regions, only 30 were from Crimea. That immediately makes any results attributed to Crimea as a region a nonsense as the number of Crimeans polled is so small, the margin for error is so immense it holds no academic or statistical value whatsoever as an indicator to Crimean regional voting. It would become even more worthless if they all come from the same town or the same age group or the same age range or the same ethnic group.

In short, for a poll to have any legitimate standing, at a minimum there should be 1000 people involved and the model upon which the results are based must be correctly weighted. In its most fundamental form, it should have the right number of respondents relating to age, ethnicity, region, gender etc etc in proportion to the country to have a country wide relevance. The numbers involved though cannot be used as a realistic guide to regional results as I have explained above. Regional results would require a survey of 1000 people in that region, also weighted to take account of social composition.

None of this will be brought to the attention of the public by the spokespeople of party A or B and neither will it be explained or brought to the attention of the public by the media who will be too busy backing their horse and trying to hobble the other, to let a small matter of transparency or accuracy get in the way – even if they have to resort to quoting polls that simply have no real worth………”

So why am I bringing to the attention of readers this Ernst & Young survey?

Well the answer is to hopefully encourage those who do not live in Kyiv to complete it, otherwise the result will be a reflection on Kyiv – and not Ukraine!

Yes I have completed it and I am quite certain my responses will be very different from those living in Kyiv.

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