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The Greek Ban on Publishing Pre-Election Polls Undercuts Healthy Democracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 4, 2009

The Greek Ban on Publishing Pre-Election Polls Undercuts Healthy Democracy

Deerfield (Illinois, USA), The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) protests the Greek government's recent law banning the publication of election survey results in the final 15 days before an election. The government’s action was taken only one year after previous bans were loosened in Greece.  It continues a trend which limits the freedom of survey research and places the publication of research findings under government control.

“It is a particularly troubling that this is happening in a number of democratic nations,” notes Peter V. Miller, president of AAPOR and associate professor in the Northwestern University School of Communication.  "Pre-election surveys are an important, impartial source of information for the public. Bans on publication of survey findings are mistaken and counter-productive to the democratic process.  The scientific community has been rebuffed in their attempts to discuss this issue with representatives of the Greek government. AAPOR now urges the government to reconsider its position,” Miller adds.

AAPOR joins its sister organization, the World Association for Public Opinion Research, in pointing out that attempts around the globe to limit the release of survey research are based on two false assumptions. The first is that election poll results influence voters- -a belief that is not supported by any available scientific research. The second is the assumption that voters could be misled by false forecasts. However, scientifically-based surveys conducted in most countries, do, in fact, provide an accurate reflection of the opinion formation process at a given point in time. And in the few cases where election survey results deviate from the final election outcome, they are still a considerably more reliable source of information than other, partisan, non-scientific sources.

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AAPOR is the leading professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals, with members across the globe from government agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, media corporations, and commercial survey research firms. It is committed to the principle that public opinion research is essential to a healthy democracy.  Further information about AAPOR is available at: www.Aapor.org.

 

 




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