By : Sachin Anand Balram
Every time I read the “Razor Research/Fiji Sun” opinion poll, I get shivers in my spine. The latest poll shows FijiFirst party leading by a large margin. It reveals that Frank Bainimarama is the most preferred Prime Minster getting polled in eighties percentile. Others lagging behind in lower than six percentage bracket. I am fully aware that “Fiji Sun “is the propaganda machine of Fiji First party. I have no doubt that the polling data and method of polling is skewed by fraud, mischief and meant to scare the opposition. The pollsters should be cross –examined as to how they arrived at those outrageous numbers.
In spite of all that, I still argue that polls such as one done by Razor/Fiji Sun should not be ignored by the candidates and their parties. It should not be shrugged off as piece of garbage. Voter’s opinion (no matter how rigged the polls are) should be paid attention to in a big way. The present poll shows voters preference towards Frank Bainimarama and his FijiFirst party in a large favorable way. He will win big unless the opposing parties can put to the voters some mind-blowing argument why Bainimarama should not be the Prime Minster. I have not heard of any good counter- arguments, as yet. However, it is not late. If the opposing party leaders have the drive, desire, determination and gumption, they can find few powerful issues and evidence that will create doubt in the minds of the voters not to cast their vote for FijiFirst party. Party leaders- let’s hear those arguments in some detail with specifics supported by clear and cogent evidence. Just by repeating over and over again that Bainimarama got into power by gun- trotting means and illegitimate method will not suffice. That he has has suspended the freedom of speech, press and assembly and so forth of Fiji people will not suffice, either. When he ascended to power by crooked method, the people of Fiji were mired in poverty, corruption, crime, unemployment, rising food prices, land and housing problems. Bainimarama stepped up, he quickly straightened the nation’s ship, hit on all eight cylinders and got to work. He did everything what his core strengths and beliefs inspired him to do. Granted- he used some abusive and high- handed manner in achieving his goals but so what? Over eighty percent of the voters still like him and think he has done a great job. Yes! Maybe, he has personally benefitted in numerous ways during his eight years of reign. But think! Name one leader of Fiji who did not benefit from his leadership position? Even late Ratu Mara known as the “father of new Fiji” did things for Lauans at the expense of other villages.
Hence, what needs to be taken to heart is that polls should give politicians an indication of popular issues and the mood of the voters. It should not be ignored. True leaders should find ways and means to prove that Razor/ Fiji Sun polls are dead wrong. Candidates can do it by persuading the voters that they have better ideas and programs how to run the country. They can do it by demonstrating to the voters that if voted into power, they can do hundred times better than the present dictatorship/oligarchy. If the opposing party leaders can take this approach, persuade the voters that they can work tirelessly for the benefit of the country to improve the standard of living of all the people then we should see a shift in polls. I suggest that the opposing parties should get together and pay for an independent polling company (there are many), to conduct an opinion poll every week. It is usually done over the telephone. We will then be able to see what the actual, true result will be. I bet they will not be surprised. The result will be similar to the one being conducted by Razor Research/Fiji Sun. Party leaders – it is up to you to prove that Razor/Fiji Sun poll is completely and absolutely wrong.