Johannesburg - Research institutions should never be wholly trusted because they lack objectivity and instead they are subjective to suit their own agendas or that of their funders, said political analyst Xolani Dube.
Dube was reacting to the South African Citizen Surveys (Sacs)’s latest survey, which has been reported to have found that popularity of President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and EFF leader Julius Malema had dropped among the country’s voters.
According to Citizen newspaper, Sacs found that Magashule’s popularity among ANC senior leaders had this year dropped from 16% down to 11%. It said nine out of 10 people dislike the former Free State Province premier.
“The research institutes want to push a particular narrative, and what makes this worse is that their methodology and the sample turn is not available for society to scrutinise and confirm the authenticity of the survey,” he said.
He said the way the surveys were conducted were kept secret “and up to the research institutes on how they conduct their research”.
“They always try to sway the attitude of society,” Dube said.
He said the institutes mostly have an objective to promote a particular “candidate”.
“It is interesting that Cyril is the one that is still at the top (according to Sacs) but look at the backlash,” he said.
Dube said it depends on where the survey is conducted as when it was conducted at townships and rural areas “Cyril won’t come out as someone who is really the favourite one”.
“But when you go to the affluent suburbs such as Umhlanga that is where you will find Cyril dominating. When you go to this so called working class areas you will find Zuma dominating,” he said.
He said Magashule had never been popular.
“But Julius has been punted as someone who is popular,” said Dube.
He said social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, was more reliable.
“You cannot fault that because look at when Zuma tweets, look at the response whether he is good or not. It shows that there are people he communicates with.
“Look at Julius when he tweets, look at the response, and look at the response when Cyril tweets,” said Dube.
Dube said at some points, the institutions conduct surveys to suit the agenda of their sponsors.
An official working for Sacs, but who declined to be named or quoted, said the survey was “pretty reliable”.
She said the institution was one of the leading researchers in the country.
“The survey that Sacs conducted is the survey that they fund and conduct.
“The result actually reflect the sentiment of South Africans. It is not the opinion of the company,” she said.