USA OPINION POLL FIRM SAYS RAILA IS AHEAD OF UHURU

Opposition chief Raila Odinga has hired US opinion polling firm Zogby, which has told him he is leading against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
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Raila and Moses Kuria
The company, headed by veteran pollster John Zogby, will continuously assess Raila’s chances of unseating Uhuru.
Various publications in America have described John Zogby as a maverick. The New York Post termed him “the pacesetter in the polling business”, but others have dismissed the company after it got it wrong in an opinion poll it did about President Obama’s popularity. From that Obama poll, Zogby’s results were described as ‘outlier’ because of how different they were from other mainstream pollsters.
The main criticism against the company is its methodology. Zogby International conducts two types of polls, one type being conventional telephone polls. It however also conducts Internet-based polls among users who volunteer to participate in them, first by signing up at the Zogby website and then by responding to an e-mail solicitation
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Nate Silver, an analyst wrote: “These Internet polls, to the extent they rely on voluntary participation, violate the most basic precept of survey research, which is that of the random sample.”
The results reported yesterday are based on 2,983 face-to-face interviews conducted between July 8 and 13 in all the 47 counties in Kenya. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2%, 19 times out of 20.
Asked to speak to concerns about the accuracy of the numbers reported, Zogby is sanguine.
“I’ve been involved in thousands of polls like this, over many years, in dozens of countries, including in Kenya. I took part in this project from start to finish and can say unequivocally that the work is first-rate,” said Zogby, a senior adviser at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
“Of course, no poll is perfect but for those who find it convenient to dismiss these results … well, the kindest thing I can say is they are engaging in wishful thinking.”
According to the poll, officially released yesterday but exclusively reported by the Star on Wednesday, Raila is now the preferred choice of 47.4 per cent of registered voters, against 46.7 per cent for Uhuru
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