THE U.S. HAR­RIS POLL AND TURKEY’S GENAR RE­SEARCH COM­PANY

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - IHSAN AKTAŞ

RATHER than huge well-known com­pa­nies, it is the smaller niche polling firms that fo­cus on so­cial re­search which pro­vide the most ac­cu­rate es­ti­ma­tion of so­ci­etal trends

U.S. elec­tions were held on Tues­day and the re­sults saw Repub­li­cans and Democrats neck and neck. Al­though the elec­tion is re­garded as nip and tuck, Democrats achieved a pre­cise ma­jor­ity in the House com­pared to Repub­li­cans. These re­sults may be­come a chance to re­strain U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s sanc­tions rush. My main ob­jec­tive in this col­umn is to fo­cus on re­search com­pa­nies’ fail­ure to pro­vide in­sight on the pre­vi­ous elec­tion. Even though some com­pa­nies es­ti­mated the re­sults cor­rectly, me­dia world­wide pre­dicted that Hil­lary Clin­ton would likely win, but in the end, Don­ald Trump won the elec­tions. As a re­sult, the large re­search com­pa­nies took sig­nif­i­cant hits be­cause of their mis­guided pre­dic­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, be­cause they have no wide­spread me­dia cov­er­age glob­ally, smaller com­pa­nies that pre­dicted the re­sults cor­rectly were not given pri­or­ity. A few days be­fore this elec­tion, Mark Pen re­ported es­ti­ma­tions by his own com­pany, The Har­ris Poll, and as­serted out­stand­ing suc­cess based on the re­sults. Here is a sam­ple of the sur­vey by per­cent­ages: l Did you hear about the Khas­soghi killing? (Yes, 75) l Saudi Ara­bia must be pe­nal­ized / No, I don’t want a break­down of re­la­tions be­cause it’s more im­por­tant to pro­tect Is­rael and re­strain Iran. (63 / 37) l Should the U.S. firmly guard guilty U.S. cit­i­zens over­seas de­spite the crit­i­cal risk of diplo­matic crises? (Yes, 80)

l Should the U.S. pro­tect for­eign jour­nal­ists? (Yes, 58)

l Gen­eral sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try. (Good, 39 / Bad, 53)

l Eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try. (Good, 48 / Bad, 38)

l Do you like Pres­i­dent Trump? (Yes, 46 / No, 54) l Is Don­ald Trump de­ter­mi­nant on your choice? (Yes, 73 / No, 27)

l If so, what is your view about Don­ald Trump? (Sup­porter, 33/ Op­po­nent, 40)

l For Repub­li­cans, which one is more im­por­tant? Don­ald Trump or the party? (46 / 25)

l Who are you go­ing to vote for? (Demo­cratic Party, 37 / Repub­li­can Party, 37)

l Do you like the par­ties? Demo­cratic Party. (Yes, 41 / No, 59) Repub­li­can Party. (Yes, 41 / No, 59)

l Vot­ers’ Pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of Needs. (Im­por­tant / Unim­por­tant)

l Health care Re­form. (Im­por­tant, 64 / Unim­por­tant, 10)

l Health In­sur­ance – pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions. (Im­por­tant, 63 / Unim­por­tant, 10)

l Mi­grant Pol­icy. (Im­por­tant, 60 / Unim­por­tant, 14) l Bor­der Se­cu­rity. (Sup­port­ive, 58 / Against, 15) l My Feel­ings about Don­ald Trump (Pos­i­tive, 55 / Neg­a­tive, 20)

Sim­i­larly, Turkey also con­ducts sur­veys and hosts nu­mer­ous re­search com­pa­nies. In fact, the “Youth Sur­vey in Turkey: Re­search­ing In­dus­try in Turkey” dates back four decades. In the begin­ning, Turkish re­search com­pa­nies worked by im­i­tat­ing Western mod­els, but over time their work elicited great re­sults and saw suc­cess.

The sup­port­ive at­ti­tude of the Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AK Party) gov­ern­ments has con­trib­uted greatly to the re­mark­able de­vel­op­ment of the re­search in­dus­try. We estab­lished the Genar Re­search Com­pany 20 years ago. Even though it is a name-brand re­search com­pany for po­lit­i­cal re­search and drew at­ten­tion with its ac­cu­rate elec­tion es­ti­ma­tions, our in­sti­tu­tion has made a tremen­dous im­pact on so­cial re­search as well.

Some of the hot top­ics of 2002 such as “Ur­ban­ity Con­scious­ness” and “Within the Scope of So­cial Fab­ric: Dis­abled Peo­ple, Gyp­sies, Drug Abuse and Ad­dic­tion and Poverty” were top­ics of re­search con­ducted by Genar. Fol­low­ing these re­mark­able stud­ies was “Soc­cer and Vi­o­lence,” seen as a pi­o­neer­ing study back then; the “Pol­i­tics in Turkey and Po­lit­i­cal Terms” study was of a sim­i­lar na­ture.

As for the 2018 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, the com­pany es­ti­mated within ap­prox­i­mately 1 point of the ac­tual re­sults, with Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan chalk­ing up 51.5 per­cent of the vote. Three months be­fore the elec­tions, the com­pany also sug­gested that the Peo­ple’s Al­liance would get 54 per­cent of the vote and the Na­tion Al­liance 36 per­cent.

Last week, Genar pub­lished a sig­nif­i­cant re­port en­ti­tled, “Youth in Turkey” for the Turkey TGSP NGOs Youth Plat­form. The re­search pre­sented to the pres­i­dency by the plat­form made quite an im­pact on the me­dia. Lead­ing colum­nists even went on to ar­gue the con­tent of the re­port.

The im­por­tance of rep­e­ti­tion, year af­ter year, has to be kept in mind for the dura­bil­ity of so­cial re­search’s ben­e­fits. While the aca­demic lifes­pan of po­lit­i­cal re­search may be very short, the in­flu­ence of so­cial re­search may cre­ate a con­tin­u­ous peren­nial im­pact from a sci­en­tific point of view.

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