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Ukrainian users of social networks will be the first to learn the results of the exit polls

January 15, 2010

This year the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, which traditionally organizes exit polls during elections in Ukraine, opened its own website in five popular social networks. This will allow Internet users to instantaneously learn the results of the exit poll before they are announced on TV or published in national newspapers.

An exit poll is an express polling of voters as they exit voting stations. It was developed in the U.S. especially for the news and the organization of TV shows. The authors of this idea in now way foresaw that exit polls would soon become one of the most important elements and instruments of public control over fairness and transparency of elections in Ukraine. Naturally, the organizers of such polls feel their results cannot serve as an argument for lawyers in a court of law, but they can become a signal of blatant falsification (rigging) in the counting of votes.
Director of DIF Ilko Kucheriv says, “We are fighting for exit polls becoming a Ukrainian tradition.”
This would not only become a tradition, but a unique new Ukrainian brand and a positive example for all countries that have chosen the path of democratic transformation.

DIF introduced this tradition by being the first to organize an exit poll and the Election Night TV program during the parliamentary elections in 1998. Since then participants of the projects have gained extensive experience in organizing and conducting exit polls at voting stations.

The presidential elections in 2004 were a true challenge for democracy and sociologist in Ukraine. Since then they began to regard exit polls in Ukraine as a unique opportunity to counteract falsification of the election process, which is a fairly new phenomenon in world practice.

Polling data in 2006 differed from the official results of the elections by no more than 1.1%. This gave grounds for concluding that there was no massive falsification during the parliamentary elections in 2006 that could have significantly altered the vote count.

In 2007 on the day of unscheduled elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Parliament), the ninth exit poll not only determined the winners of the election race, but also fairly accurately revealed the number of votes garnered by the parties. Immediately following the publication of the exit poll data politicians began alluding to the results of the elections, albeit the previous ones, as a proven fact and no longer waiting for the results of the Central Election Commission have begun naming the constituency of future coalitions in the parliament.

The usage of New Media, in particular direct broadcasting of the announcement of exit poll results on YouTube, will become one of the distinctive features of the National Exit Poll 2010. Besides that, this information will be synchronously published in the Ukrainian and English languages on the following sites: http://www.exitpoll.org.ua, www.dif.org.ua and www.newcitizen.org.ua and disseminated via e-mail and the social networks Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal and Vkontakte.

This year’s nationwide polling will be the first to be conducted by almost exclusively Ukrainian financing. Sociological services have appealed to citizen with a request to make a monetary contribution for conducting the exit poll. Fundraising via the Internet is an original experiment that will show the readiness of Ukrainians to support non-government initiatives.

The Democratic Initiatives Foundation traditionally plays the role of coordinator and organizer of financing exit polls. Meanwhile, KIIS and the Razumkov Centre conduct the polling and are responsible for the scientific processing of its results.

Join us on the social networks:

http://dif-ua.livejournal.com/ - official blog of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation

http://vkontakte.ru/club14300686 - group on Vkontakte

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ukranskij-Nacionlnij-Ekzit-pol2010-Ukrainian-National-Exitpoll2010/238377754546 - page on Facebook

http://twitter.com/exitpollua official account on Twitter

http://www.youtube.com/user/Deminitiatives - DIF channel on Youtube

http://www.causes.com/causes/430471/about - fundraising for conducting the exit poll during the second round of the presidential elections.

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