Sociologie Românească, Vol. VI, no. 3-4/2008, pp. 18-29.
Influenţă sau manipulare prin sondaje de opinie?
Influence or manipulation by means of surveys?
Dorel Abraham*, Ionela Şufaru*, Septimiu Chelcea**
**University of Bucharest
Abstract: This study is focusing on the influence of published polls results on the population's electoral behavior, mainly on the political vote. In order to clarify this issue two approaches are used. On the one hand, the influence of the polls results on the population's political behavior is analyzed in correlation with the communication models, with the significant differences between influence and manipulation and with the media influence, mainly on the influence of electoral campaigns on the population's voting behavior. On the other hand, the impact of opinion surveys on voting behavior is analyzed, in comparison with international studies, based on CURSs studies on polls influence on electoral behavior. The data show that media influence on voting behavior is similar with those established by P. Lazarsfeld's studies in 1940 stating that the electoral campaigns influence to a very small extent the populations decisions on how to vote, the weight of the converted votes being around 8%. The researches on journalists conducted by CURS and other studies based on representative surveys at the level of population aged 18 years old and over show that only about 4% of those who watched the public opinion polls results and only about 2% of the electorate (1.6 of journalist) take very seriously into account the results of opinion surveys when they vote. If we take into account that 75% of them are acting according with the bandwagon effect and 25% according with the underdog effect, then the conclusion is that only 1.5% of the voting population and about 1.2% of the journalists get a bandwagon influence, meaning that people are influenced to follow the polls winner. Besides, the polls results are not the only factors that influence the voting decision. It is important to note that the direct influence of published opinions polls is finally statistically insignificant even if they can have an indirect influence on election participation, political leaders, public opinion leaders and so on.
Keywords: public opinion, poll, manipulation, elections, parlamentary elections.
Cuvinte-cheie: opinie publică, sondaj de opinie, manipulare, alegeri electorale, alegeri parlamentare.