How to game surveys
relatively urban bias, or a bias towards residents of town centers. This bias also applies when enumerators rely on handheld applications that are dependent on cellular site signals, for such will further limit the sampled areas only to those reached by those signals.
Thus, one aspect of surveys which can be manipulated to game their results is in the selection of samples. But this would amount to committing what can be considered as a mortal sin in survey taking.An honest survey will always try to minimize sampling bias.
Another important element of the survey is the questions asked, or what are technically referred to as the survey instruments. Survey questions must be structured in such a way that they are not leading and biased, and should be clearly stated. Ideally, negative statements are generally avoided, and each question must contain only one issue or concern.
This is another opportunity to game the results of surveys. Survey questions can be structured to lead respondents to a preferred response, or to make the questions complicated and confusing for ordinary respondents that will force them to respond in an expected manner favorable to one side.
I do not mean to accuse anyone of anything, but one example of a leading and complicated question is when SWS, in its recent survey on the so-called EJKs, asked respondents to agree or disagree with the following statement:
(Many of those killed by the police in the campaign against drugs did not really resist arrest.)
Aside from using a negative statement, the use of the word “killed) is loaded as it already gives the impression of intent to kill, which is different from “(died).
A much better way of phrasing the question would have been: “
(On whether or not those who died during the campaign by the police against illegal drugs resisted their arrest.) Responses would have been categorically scaled as “
(resisted, no opinion, did not resist). Finally, a more insidious way of gaming the survey results is when the randomized location where the samples will be drawn are leaked to interested parties. An aggravating circumstance is when such is done in exchange for some favors or bribes. Knowing the location where samples will be taken will enable an interested party to saturate the place with information materials, conduct rallies and other campaign activities there,increase visibility by attending social or in some cases detrimental to the other side. This is done days before the actual taking of the surveys to
Surveys, far from becoming merely a barometer that shapers of public opinion. As such, they acquire the power to make candidates win. When used to measure the performance of governments, surveys can also be very effective in painting leaders as effective or inept, or as popular or despised. They can even be used for political destabilization.
Surveys are supposed to be mechanisms that have become important in democratic politics, for they enable measurements of people’s sentiments.
But when they are gamed, they no longer become objective measures of people’s opinions, but have become weapons to manipulate and misrepresent their voices. They become instruments by those who would like to undermine democracy to serve their