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Bangkok candidates want poll ratings banned
Publication Date : 05-02-2013
Some independents seeking to be Bangkok governor urged the Election Commission yesterday to prohibit pollsters from publishing popularity ratings, saying the surveys were aimed at influencing voters' decision-making.
Krit Suriyaphol, the No-20 candidate, submitted his complaint to the EC along with a black wreath for "pollsters who attempt to influence voters' decisions".
Krit said he did not trust academics as they were close to the government and hired to hold public hearings and conduct surveys. The results created impressions that favoured a certain candidate.
Sanhapoj Suksrimuang, the No-6 hopeful, also submitted a petition to the EC to order pollsters to stop releasing survey results immediately because they were not fair to other candidates.
In the weeks since candidacy registration, many surveys have been taken and representatives from the two major political parties were far ahead, he said.
Thaweesak Tujinda, chairman of the Bangkok Election Committee, said approval ratings could not be released in the week leading up to the March 3 election day.
Pollsters that did not observe the rules would be ruled as attempting to influence voters and would face up to 10 years in jail and a fine up to 200,000 baht (US$6,700). Their election rights would also be stripped for 10 years.
Dusit Poll director Sukhum Chaloeysap and Abac Poll director Noppadon Kannika both said their surveys followed academic principles and provided a space for respondents to fill in the name of their preferred candidate.
Pollsters might have violated the law if they provided only four to five names to select from in the questionnaire, Sukhum said. "The forms should have a blank for write-in candidates to give a chance to all contenders but most people always put down a well-known name, their most-liked candidate or someone supported by a party. So it gave unknown candidates a disadvantage but all candidates should make themselves recognised," he said.