According to a former top researcher with the Chicago-based National Opinion and Research Centre, B. Sheatsley, “opinion polls’ most obvious contribution has been to substitute objective measures of people’s opinions and behaviour for the guesswork that once surrounded these matters.”
In this sense, it becomes quite clear that something still does not work, the way opinion polls are conducted.
For instance, what does it exactly mean to ask a random group of people “who, between President Kibaki and Premier Raila Odinga, is working hardest?”This was the question Gullup recently asked in its only opinion poll this year. Just what was such a question supposed to mean?It is so subjective as to render it meaningless – certainly not the stuff of scientific polls. It comes out as having had pre-determined results, making it utterly baseless.Among those anonymous individuals asked to respond, who has any idea how the two spend their working day – the whole minutiae of crafting policies, studying situation papers and intelligence briefings, attending to various national chores, events and ceremonies, and meeting numerous delegations?
Except for the people who work in those offices, the answer is none.As far as any Kenyan can tell, both the President and Prime Minister have been on a hectic daily ever since the Grand Coalition was formed, each addressing the business of State.Just recently, when the President was off to an AU meeting in Egypt and another one in Japan, the Prime Minister was handling the toxic issues of the Grand Regency scandal and the Mau Forest.
Soon, he was off to the UK and the US, while President Kibaki was home grappling with domestic chores.This outward picture, which is the only idea that Kenyans have of the two at work, does not show any of them being busier or more lethargic than the other.It does not need repeating that the two leaders’ styles of doing things are diametrically opposed: that one is laid-back and the other more physically active.
It would be wrong for any Kenyan to think that being a hands-on operative equals hard work, though the PM does work hard, or that being “laid-back” means laziness.In many places, including large companies, many unsung people do the donkey-work, while the showy type get most of the limelight.
It does not make sense to equate two offices which have specific constitutional mandates, and which are serving the same government simultaneously.