Tuesday, October 21, 2003

[ELECTIONS 2003] First Poll Irregularities

Every election in recent Croatian history was marked by accusations of poll irregularities – deliberately incomplete registration, breeches of pre-election silence and classic vote fraud (usually in favour of ruling HDZ party). 2003 elections are probably not going to be exception.

The first major poll irregularity, however, doesn't have much to do with electoral process by itself. HTNet, top Croatian ISP, is running its own on-line opinion poll. However, some of the poll results seemed too suspicious to Nebojša Taraba (Nebojsa Taraba), HTNet news editor. He decided to suspend the poll, claiming that 63% of the vote for HB-HIP coalition is "not realistic" and that it all points to some kind of vote fraud – stuffing the poll with HB-HIP votes from multiple accounts. "5 % or 9 % were within realistic limits", claimed Taraba.

Of course, representatives of HB and HIP didn't like it and decided to use that affair to remind Croatian public of their very existence. They claim that the poll is genuine and that mere fact that they get 63 % there (while barely scratching 1-2 % in "regular" media polls) is not reason for the poll to be scuttled.

Some would argue that on-line poll manipulation, if it is indeed the work of HB and HIP, shows the despair of those parties. On the other hand, on-line polls are even less reliable than "regular" polls (that often have very little to do with the actual popularity of certain politicians and their parties). On-line polls, unlike "regular", depend on people who: a) can afford PC and Internet connection; b) educated enough to use them properly; c) care enough about cesspool of Croatian politics to take part in such on-line surveys; d) take those on-line surveys seriously. Majority of Croatian voters don't fulfil such requirements and this is the reason why I think that HTNet poll results might be genuine, albeit with little or no relation to the actual election result.


Post a Comment

<< Home