Exit-poll cannot estimate winner of Chișinău election due to high refusal rate

The exit poll conducted in 67 polling stations over the course of the second round of local elections for the position of mayor of Chișinău is not relevant due to the high rate of voter refusal to participate in the poll.

In an IPN press conference, Andrei Luchian, director of the sociological research company Public Opinion Fund, and Doru Petruţi, general director of the sociological research company [imas], said that 25.9% of polled people refused to say whom they voted for.

Doru Petruți said that, according to the data available at 20:00, 37.1% of the voters said that they voted for Ion Ceban, while 37% said that they voted for Andrei Nastase.

"The large share of refusals does not allow us to make a prediction regarding who won. The extremely high refusal rate is a signal for us all, if we truly believe in the values of democracy. If we want this exercise to work, we must make a great effort to convince people to open up when they are surveyed", said Doru Petruți.

According to the [imas] general director, these refusals can tilt the scales to one side or another. "The distribution of refusals is very complicated. There were polling stations with a very high refusal share to participate and there were polling stations with a zero percent refusal share", said Doru Petruți. He mentioned that even young people refused to participate in the poll.

"The difference between the two candidates is insignificant and only knowing the option of those who refused to participate in the poll could help us make an estimate", said Doru Petruți.

In turn, Andrei Luchian said that in a democratic society the exit poll is an instrument for measuring the level of democracy. "We must take into account that exit-polls have not been carried out for 8 years. The last exit poll looked different from the current one", said the director of the Public Opinion Fund.

The digital collection of data is a premiere. "We took a huge risk, because we didn't collect so much data in such an intense rhythm before. We've previously done it on paper, but now it was via tablets and the data was transmitted online", said Andrei Luchian.

The research was carried out at the request of the Association for Equitable Development of Moldova and the political consulting company "Poliexpert" and was conducted by two specialized companies: the Public Opinion Fund and [imas].

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