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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On Polls and Ground Realities

Two more polls were released today.

Here polling is a science. Mostly rather accurate but it is not rare for a pollster to fall on his face too, like last week in the eve of Big Tuesday the AP pollster fell flat on his face calling for a big Clinton win.

On the other hand here is an interesting perspective from what is happening in rural areas that the media does not reach. friend beena wrote:

Here's a piece with some interesting insights about voters, by a friend & columnist who lives in southern Punjab - where the Choudhrys have poured tons of money. He writes that people he talked to were of the view that 'any election is better than no election and that any vote cast is better than no vote cast. "Not all votes will be fixed. Maybe mine will be one of those that aren't"...'

An editor friend in Lahore told me that the Choudhries & their ilk had been "targeting PML-N and PPP strongholds through the local governments, at the union council level, breaking their hold and slowly and steadily started getting their voters through favors, money, contracts. They've asked a lot of their leaders to focus on poor areas, and they're focusing that, spending a lot of money." She added: "This is not rigging, it is strategy."

Another friend in Islamabad, who hails from Bahawalpur, told me that the mayor of Bahawalpur who had defected to PML-Q soon after the 2002 general elections (elected originally with PPP support), has "invested funding to build a personal vote bank, convert the PPP vote bank to his personal vote bank… the Q League is doing a lot of funding at the local level. In our patronage system," she said, "this is what counts, who's building the roads, who's providing water and electricity, rather than legislation. Who has the most influence in helping the people deal with their issues–like how to get someone out of the clutches of the police, how to ensure that water reaches their land, and so on."

and a video news report - al-Qaeda in Pakistan plans election chaos - RealNews

and last, one from CNN.

(CNN) -- -- Support from Pakistanis for al Qaeda and the Taliban has plummeted in Pakistan, and so has their confidence in the current government, according to two recently released nationwide polls.


A protest in January against the government of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf

The separate polls were conducted by two U.S.-based organizations, the International Republican Institute and Terror Free Tomorrow.

They were released a week before Pakistanis head to the polls to elect a new parliament. The campaign has been marred by killings.

The government delayed the vote by six weeks because of the turmoil ignited when opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27. In the last three days, two suicide bombings killed about 20 people at rallies in northwestern Pakistan.

Both polls indicate that President Pervez Musharraf's ruling coalition will have a difficult time retaining power in the vote.

IRI, which describes itself as nonpartisan organization promoting democracy worldwide, spoke in person to 3,485 Pakistanis and its poll, released Monday, has a 1.7-percentage-point sampling error.


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