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We at GeoPoll do not conduct political polls, but what I can say is that the beauty of a sample survey is that it depends on the sample size and confidence level chosen.
For statistics that are approximately normally distributed, a sample size of 2,000 individuals would yield a maximum margin of error of ±2.19 at the 95 per cent confidence level.
This means if 50 per cent of respondents reported they liked the color blue, 95 times out of 100 we would expect the true value of the population to lie somewhere between roughly 48 per cent and 52 per cent. There are other types of non-sampling errors that must be managed and reported in order for a poll or survey to claim to be representative of the population. It is essential to be skeptical of any survey that is run and make sure the entire methodology is shared and available for review. This is true in Kenya and anywhere else a sample survey is run.
Should Kenyans believe the pollsters? Certainly. While Kenya, like many countries, is certainly complex and varied, a well-conducted randomized sample survey can provide useful estimates of population statistics, like anywhere else in the world. Surveys must be done in a way that is randomized and transparent and by a reputable agency.
Because we do not conduct opinion polls on the popularity of political candidates and their parties, we would not want to comment on the decision by NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga to contract US opinion polling firm Zogby.
Richman is a Data Scientist at GeoPoll
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