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Vox Populi | Corruption Numbers

«A random retrospective of bizarre events»

«A random retrospective of bizarre events»

Topic | Combatting Corruption

Source |  Brasil 24/7 | Vox Populi

Excerpt translated: C. Brayton

247 – A survey conducted by  Vox Populi reveals that a fair portion of the population believes the

«A random retrospective of bizarre events»

«A random retrospective of bizarre events»

Topic | Combatting Corruption

Source |  Brasil 24/7 | Vox Populi

Excerpt translated: C. Brayton

247 – A survey conducted by  Vox Populi reveals that a fair portion of the population believes the Workers Party when it says that corruption prosecutions are on the rise recently because  the government has given law enforcement the autonomy to discover corruption and arrest those responsible.

According to the sample, consisting of 2,500 interviews in 178 Brazilian cities between December 5 and December 8,  31% believe that it was ex-President Lula who, of the last three heads of state, “did the most to combat corruption.” His succesor, Dilma Rousseff, was named by 29%. In last place, president Fernando Henrique Cardoso of the PSDB.

“The numbers indicate that 60% believe in the anticorruption efforts of three PT administrations, whereas FHC is identified by less than 25% of those who voted for the PSDB in October,” said  Vox Populi president Marcos Coimbra, who published the results in this week’s CartaCapital magazine. He criticized the “media establishment” for not having produced opinion polling on the Petrobras crisis, then corrected himself.

“That is not quite true. Datafolha published one in early December. It attracted attention for its extravagant headline based on the editorial line of the Folha de S. Paulo, which, after all, owns the institute: “Brazilian blames Dilma for Petrobras Case.”

“No further surveys were commissioned, as though that particular study settled the question for good. As if the paper’s own ombudsman had no roundly criticized the dubious mathematics used by the editors in publishing the piece,” says Coimbra.

Read an excerpt of the ombudsman’s critique at the foot of this note.

The OmbudsmanCoimbra added that “only 13% of the survey had not heard of the charges of criminal conduct at Petrobras. In other words, 86% of the population is aware of the case, with no significant variations according to levels of education.”

Among those who had heard of the case, 69% believe that “the irregularities at Petrobras started before the PT [took power.]” Of the rest, 23% said it began with the PT in office, and 8% said they did not know.

Concerning which political parties might be involved in “irregularities,” 7% blamed “the PT and the PT alone” while 18% identified “the PT and its allies, such as the PMDB and PP.”

The remaining two thirds said that all the parties were involved, “including the PSDB, the PSB and the DEM”.

The Ombudsman

The Folha ombudsman writes on the blame game headline and the funky polling used to support it:

What is surprising, and not just in the Petrobras case, are the apparent contradictions of this number and others published in the same article. If 68% blame the president in some way for the Petrobras affair, how is it possible for 42% to have rated her government good or excellent, the same level of popularity as in October, during the election campaign? Dilma is also absent from the list of those benefiting from corruption, and 40% said that the corrupt were punished more often during her administration.

It is no uncommon for the collective perception to present erratic results, but the problem in this case … is the generic question posed by the Folha. The term “responsibility” is an umbrella too broad to be used as it was here, without complementary questions that would not only help orient the interview subject but also the reader, to understand what the terms means to each.

The senior editors agree that additional questions might help qualify the conclusions about public perception, but say that there is no reason to think they would change the principal result. I agree … My point is that the survey could have gone further, establishing the whats and trying to explain the whys.

Polls are useful tools for determining the public humor, and at best carefully delimit their topic and independently check their conclusions. If not, as our reader says, the result is vague and becomes mere fodder for gossip.

Workers Party when it says that corruption prosecutions are on the rise recently because  the government has given law enforcement the autonomy to discover corruption and arrest those responsible.

According to the sample, consisting of 2,500 interviews in 178 Brazilian cities between December 5 and December 8,  31% believe that it was ex-President Lula who, of the last three heads of state, “did the most to combat corruption.” His succesor, Dilma Rousseff, was named by 29%. In last place, president Fernando Henrique Cardoso of the PSDB.

“The numbers indicate that 60% believe in the anticorruption efforts of three PT administrations, whereas FHC is identified by less than 25% of those who voted for the PSDB in October,” said  Vox Populi president Marcos Coimbra, who published the results in this week’s CartaCapital magazine. He criticized the “media establishment” for not having produced opinion polling on the Petrobras crisis, then corrected himself.

“That is not quite true. Datafolha published one in early December. It attracted attention for its extravagant headline based on the editorial line of the Folha de S. Paulo, which, after all, owns the institute: “Brazilian blames Dilma for Petrobras Case.”

“No further surveys were commissioned, as though that particular study settled the question for good. As if the paper’s own ombudsman had no roundly criticized the dubious mathematics used by the editors in publishing the piece,” says Coimbra.

Read an excerpt of the ombudsman’s critique at the foot of this note.

The OmbudsmanCoimbra added that “only 13% of the survey had not heard of the charges of criminal conduct at Petrobras. In other words, 86% of the population is aware of the case, with no significant variations according to levels of education.”

Among those who had heard of the case, 69% believe that “the irregularities at Petrobras started before the PT [took power.]” Of the rest, 23% said it began with the PT in office, and 8% said they did not know.

Concerning which political parties might be involved in “irregularities,” 7% blamed “the PT and the PT alone” while 18% identified “the PT and its allies, such as the PMDB and PP.”

The remaining two thirds said that all the parties were involved, “including the PSDB, the PSB and the DEM”.

The Ombudsman

The Folha ombudsman writes on the blame game headline and the funky polling used to support it:

What is surprising, and not just in the Petrobras case, are the apparent contradictions of this number and others published in the same article. If 68% blame the president in some way for the Petrobras affair, how is it possible for 42% to have rated her government good or excellent, the same level of popularity as in October, during the election campaign? Dilma is also absent from the list of those benefiting from corruption, and 40% said that the corrupt were punished more often during her administration.

It is no uncommon for the collective perception to present erratic results, but the problem in this case … is the generic question posed by the Folha. The term “responsibility” is an umbrella too broad to be used as it was here, without complementary questions that would not only help orient the interview subject but also the reader, to understand what the terms means to each.

The senior editors agree that additional questions might help qualify the conclusions about public perception, but say that there is no reason to think they would change the principal result. I agree … My point is that the survey could have gone further, establishing the whats and trying to explain the whys.

Polls are useful tools for determining the public humor, and at best carefully delimit their topic and independently check their conclusions. If not, as our reader says, the result is vague and becomes mere fodder for gossip.