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Polls, not politics

Polls, not politics

The Editor,

In the Phnom Penh Post of August 9 - 22, 1996 the article entitled "Rainsy-linked

poll picks the most popular leader... Rainsy", describes Sodeco as a "Cambodian

NGO linked to political rebel Sam Rainsy". This kind of title and comment definitely

casts doubt on the reliability of Sodeco as a pollster.

Therefore, it is important for us to make clear the following points:

  1. As in any properly run organization, any work has to be done properly regardless

    of political opinion, religious creed or any other personal consideration. Sodeco

    strives to abide by this principle which implies adherence to a clear methodology

    for statistical analysis and to a strict professional code of conduct. Any allegation

    of bias or any preconceived judgment about Sodeco is just unfair.

  2. Taking into account the specific political, economic and social conditions prevailing

    in Cambodia, Sodeco conducts public opinion polls through a representative population

    sample defined on the basis of three criteria: diversity (the structure and characteristics

    of the Cambodian population as a whole are reflected in the population sample in

    terms of diversity of respondents with regard to their genders, age groups, occupations

    and places of residence), random selection (interviewers go to public places to talk

    to people at random, without any conscious choice of the respondents) and anonymity

    (in order to minimize fear, no information is asked regarding the precise identity,

    address or professional position of the respondent so that the latter cannot be traced

    after the interview).

  3. Sodeco wants to promote transparency and objectivity by inviting all interested

    persons (journalists, representatives of diplomatic missions, government officials

    and experts, NGO workers, scholars etc.) to check and appraise its methodology and

    ethics by directly and actively participating in the public opinion polls it has

    been conducting. The Washington-based International Republican Institute and the

    French-language newspaper Cambodge Soir have already responded to the invitation.

    We are looking forward to working with more organizations which do not fear pressure

    from the government, because we think that opinion polls are a fair, lawful and peaceful

    means to let people express themselves and therefore to strengthen democracy in Cambodia.

- Sok Vann Khema, President, Solidarity and Community Development Association

(Sodeco),

Phnom Penh.

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