response letter18 december 2017
Response letter to the statements of some representatives of the civil society regarding the [IMAS] surveys
Dear civil society representatives,
At the risk of repeating ourselves, we would like to remind you one of the paragraphs from our recent press release: “Anyone can visit us and find more about our activity, our working procedures and the quality of data we can provide, as well as about our portfolio or any other elements of interest. We are always open to answer the questions that may emerge in relation to the surveys we carry out”.
The approach used by the initiators of this undertaking, and namely that of the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova, is at least strange. The representatives of this organization have contacted us on 12 December, 2017, at 13:21 o’clock, with the following request: “In relation to the launch of the Social-Political Barometer from 12 December 2017, we kindly request to send us the questionnaire used to carry out the survey regarding the questions about the civil society (pages 18 and 19 of the published document)”. I have contacted by telephone the representative of this NGO, and provided the necessary details, and during Friday, 15 December 2017, I have provided as well a detailed written message, which is provided here, attached to this press release.
We have unfortunately noticed that the press release issued today includes other observations and questions in relation to which our viewpoint was requested neither during that discussion nor subsequently.
Nevertheless, we would like to answer the questions which were raised in relation to this survey:
- The accusations regarding the sequence of questions and generation of answers favoring the contractor of the survey: we could have been asked about the sequence of the survey questions and hence we could have avoided the launch of some useless hypotheses. The sequence of questions may be easily proved, by simply visiting the premises of IMAS and accessing in electronic regime the questionnaire used for this project. Before reacting to our invitation to come and visit us, we would like to clarify the sequence of the indicators from the questionnaire: confidence for civil society, perceptions regarding civil society (12 statements applied randomly, through rotation, for every respondent, to avoid thus the “list effect”), general perceptions about the referenda and the indicator regarding the referendum on mixed voting. Hence, none of the effects mentioned by you could emerge, as we have observed the technique of applying first of all the more general and global questions, and subsequently asking questions about specific situations. Anyway, we really appreciate the high level of technical knowledge regarding the formulation and sequence of questions in a questionnaire and the fact that you monitor this aspect related to polls. This happens for the first time on the market of the Republic of Moldova and we really hope it will continue and cover the surveys-to-come.
- Accusations regarding the formulation of a number of questions: we open to answer all your requests at any time, if they are formulated punctually. In relation to the question that “Some of NGOs with the support of PCRM, Platforma DA and Partidul Nostru, came up with the initiative to organize a referendum for cancelling the mixed voting. What is your opinion about this?” we would like to clarify that the formulation of this question coincides with the way in which the events occurred at that very moment.Besides, a more detailed analysis of the answers shows that your hypotheses are not well-grounded this time again: 71.4% of the voters of Platforma DA consider this referendum to be a good idea, and 54.4% of the PAS voters have the same opinion. It seems that the formulation of this question did not determine the voters to reject this statement, as the majority of voters of the respective type have supported this initiative.
- The accusations regarding the manipulative use of survey results: [IMAS] company is a sociological company and it does not have responsibilities related to the development of materials presented in mass-media.
- Methodology: we would like to remind you that the methodology chosen for assessing the citizens’ perception regarding the civil society was similar to the one used for other surveys performed since 2010 upon request of some NGOs from the Republic of Moldova. As it may be noticed in the annex to this press release, the range of items used to measure the perception about the civil society is correct as scale of options and balanced as formulations (12 statements: half are positive and half are negative) and rotation o items was used to avoid the “list effect” as well.
We would like to use this occasion to underline once again the possibility of carrying out ample research regarding the civil society. In this case, there will be no other issue related to the measurement tools. In the previous press release, we stated that we are available to support such an undertaking. Most probably, we will perform it at the beginning of 2018 and we would like to invite you to participate in a transparent way. Thus, our citizens will be able to express in detail the opinions they have related to this important area of activity.
general manager [imas]