The SOCIS Centre has a significant experience in conducting voter interrogation on leaving the voting precincts which already widely known as 'exit poll' due to journalists and politicians. The Centre, together with other sociological organizations, participated in the first exit poll in Ukraine during the March 1998 parliamentary election. Not surprising then that Kiev media holding proposed the organization to provide sociological accompaniment of the whole electoral campaign of 2008 and exit polls particularly on the day of early election on may 25th.
The SOCIS Centre first researched electoral preferences of Kyivites at this election in early March 2008. From this time on and until the election day SOCIS was the only sociological organization in the city to monitor the early election. During this time, eight express polls were taken which enabled a rather clear forecast of the following election and its main results. Particularly, the data received during the polls revealed a rather clear trend for growing rating of the mayor in office while a decreasing popularity of Vitaliy Klitchko, his main competitor at the beginning of electoral campaign. In terms of figures, the process looked as follows. In mid-March 22.8% of a;; respondents were ready to vote for L.Chernovetsky and 22%, for V.Klitchko. However, after two months in mid-Mat the situation turned out feasibly different. 32% of respondents were ready to vote for the mayor in office and only 14% for V.Klitchko. It became clear that the mayor in office will remain there after the early election.
This is exactly why the leaflets of different political forces envisaging their inevitable defeat were accusing SOCIS (baseless but angrily) of being “bought off”. It's a shame because such accusations undermine voter trust for polls on the whole while notorious ordering clients themselves unwittingly decrease the significance of “wonder ratings” for common citizens. Thus, they are spending their money in vain.
As the polls by the SOCIS Centre, they were conducted according to professional requirements for sociological research: a rigidity in sampling and the number of respondents, full legalization of all interviewers (which enabled a respondent to check the fact of the poll being conducted), correct formulation of questions in the questionnaire which made it impossible to “push” the respondents to the answers desired by ordering client. It is also noteworthy that the core of Kyiv interviewing team consists of experienced people rather than students as is the practice of other sociological organizations.
As you may know, exit poll during the election day was held, besides the SOCIS Centre, by two other sociological organizations: the exit poll by Democratic Initiative Foundations, Kyiv international institute for sociology with the Bureau of statistical analysis at the field stage by order of ICTV, as well as the exit poll by research and brand consulting company Research & Branding Group by order of INTER broadcasting company.
How exact the exit poll by the SOCIS Centre was on May 25, 2008 can be demonstrated by the data of the other two exit polls already mentioned and, of course, official results published by Kyiv city territorial electoral commission. The KMIS and FDI exit poll data are from http://exit-poll.org.ua/ua/ and the data of Research & Branding Group are correspondingly from http://www.rb.com.ua/rus/company/news/2008/2750.html
But first a few world about the method set of our exit poll. This poll offered a completely new set of exit poll methods as operative investigation via cell phones and office telephone calls.
All interviewers who participated in the poll had cell phones and were called from the office every two hours in order to receive the information collected from respondents. In case the interviewer was not called on time he or she was calling one of office's numbers from their cell phone.
This exit poll featured the following method of collecting empirical information. Interviewers were only transmitting to the office the codes of questions asked at the exit of voting polls. We were able to receive information on three content questions and several demographic characteristics of the respondent. The information was operatively input and automatically added to the general data base which can be analysed for a specific time span, for example, every two hours starting from 11 A.M.
Transmitting information to the office was provided according to two schemes. By the rift one, each office operator was constantly in contact with interviewers working in one of the city's administrative districts and got in touch with each of them every two hours to receive the information on ongoing voting. In case the operator failed to get in touch with an interviewer for any reason, the latter called the office on his operator's telephone or on one of the SOCIS Centre's reserve telephones (second scheme).
Ukrainian Reform Promotion Foundation was the ordering client of our exit poll.
The poll was taken on 141 voting precincts in all 10 administrative districts of Kyiv city (which far exceeded the number of precincts where other exit polls were taken). When calculating the respondent sampling, we considered that no more than 55 or 60 percent of all registered voters would turn out. Considering the analysis of population turnout in previous electoral campaigns, we calculated approximate proportions of respondents to be interviewed during different time spans. During the last working hours, our interviewers found a higher turnout and therefore went on interviewing with the set sampling even though they had already fulfilled their task (the number of interviews to be taken). As a result, over 6500 respondents were interviewed. This poll's error quotient is no more than 1.5 percent without counting the sampling design effect.
The table shows the data on those mayoral candidates who receive over two percent voted each, and the seven parties and blocs which superseded the three-percent threshold to be represented in Kyiv city council.
As the presented data demonstrate, the exit poll by the SOCIS Centre turned out the most precise as to the official result of mayoral election winner Leonid Chernovetsky. As to Kyiv city council election, the SOCIS Centre, together with other exit polls, named all seven political forces to supersede the threshold and their hierarchy in terms of received council seats. There is a certain exception for the Party of Regions and Bloc of Mykola Katerynchuk.
Exit poll results
Number of precincts
Number of interviewed at precinct exits
Election turnout –
Kyiv mayor election
Kyiv city council election
Bloc of L.Chernovetsky
Bloc of Yu.Tymoshenko
Bloc of V.Klitchko
Bloc of Lytvyn
Civil active of Kyiv
Party of Regions
Bloc of M.Katerynchuk