‘A different Gallup’: A look at polling firm cited by PNA on gov’t COVID-19 response survey

April 28, 2020 - 10:17 PM
Image by Andreas Breitling from Pixabay

The “Gallup” polling firm which recently claimed survey results that a majority of Filipinos are satisfied with the national government’s response to the pandemic is not the same as the respected US-analytics and advisory company Gallup Inc.

State-run Philippine News Agency reported on April 23 that a survey from a polling organization called Gallup International Association or GIA supposedly conducted from April 6 to 8 showed that 80% of Filipinos believed that the Duterte administration’s handling of the novel coronavirus crisis was done “well.” 

The report said that only 18% of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction and two percent were “ambivalent” on the matter.  

In terms of human rights, the PNA report also said that 86% of those who were surveyed are willing to sacrifice their human rights if it could help in slowing down the infections.  

Only 12 percent said otherwise while the remaining two percent could not make a decision. This developed as 88 percent admitted that they are “afraid” that either he or someone in his family may actually catch the novel coronavirus,” PNA reported, citing the GIA survey 

The Palace welcomed the positive results of the poll. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said during a virtual press briefing that President Rodrigo Duterte was “thankful” for the favorable response. 

Surveys on the public’s opinion on key issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic are normally conducted by local polling firms Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations 

These surveys disclose details on the sample size, the methodologies and the interview questions. GIA, on the other hand, used an undisclosed “online method” and computer-assisted telephone interviews.

On Gallup International Association or GIA  

In its website, GIA introduced the firm as an association that conducts social and marketing surveys in Bulgaria.  

Gallup International’ Association has been presented in Bulgaria through our activity since 1993. We are a regional center for the Balkans coordinating the activities of a network of research agencies from several countries across the region,” part of its introduction on the page read. 

The PNA report also provided a link that directs to results of an international polling initiative which was posted on April 21. 

The GIA noted that at least 17 countries participated in the surveys conducted in March and April. The results in the PNA report are also found on the GIA’s website.

Screenshot by Interaksyon from Gallup International website
Screenshot by Interaksyon from Gallup International website

PNA recently updated its report with an editor’s note mentioning the GIA’s disclaimer which was also published on the polling firm’s website:  

Gallup International Association or its members are not related to Gallup Inc., headquartered in Washington D.C. which is no longer a member of Gallup International Association. Gallup International Association does not accept responsibility for opinion polling other than its own. We require that our surveys be credited fully as Gallup International (not Gallup or Gallup Poll).” 

Gallup Inc. has filed lawsuits against GIA for using its name. The two firms have released survey results at odds with each other in the past.

A former Bulgarian ambassador, as quoted in a Washington Post report, dismissed a survey the GIA released in 2017 as “wrapped-in-secrecy” that had “no details on methodology nor funding sources.

“Russian media strategists and their Bulgarian proxies used the Western name [Gallup] to fool people about its credibility and spread their message,” said Ilian Vassilev, a Bulgarian diplomat.

Other Filipinos likewise denounced the misassociation by Malacañang in citing the GIA poll.

“The fake Gallup was used for disinformation campaigns involving Russia, and has been sued by the real Gallup,” Twitter user @Maree___Therese said. 

“There is a credible American polling agency called Gallup. The polling agency cited by a PNA article is known as GIA of Bulgaria. PNA did not use the acronym making it look like it is from Gallup,” another user said.   

On the Gallup Poll 

Gallup Inc. is a long-running analytics and advisory company founded by George Gallup in 1935.  

Its surveys, particularly the election surveys, are often used and cited in US-based magazines such as CNN and USA Today 

Despite criticisms against the reliability of its results in recent elections, many Americans still rely on the firm in gauging opinion on key issues, such as predicting the outcome of their elections.  

 “He may not have always been right, but his attempt to measure what Americans wanted permanently changed the nation’s political systems. Decades later, the argument still holds,” Time magazine said in a feature describing Gallup, the founder.