Tuesday, April 10, 2007

ESOMAR Podcast

Great podcast from October 2006 with many of the key players involved in Iraqi polls. Matthew Warshaw of D3 Systems is one of the key people in the recent ABC poll as well as the World Public Opinion.com polls. Most of his discussion focuses on Afghanistan. Fascinating stuff on the knitty-gritty details.

The section on Iraq features Johnny Heald of Opinion Research Business and Munqeth Daghir of MEC Communications. Daghir's story is interesting and moving. He had no experience in polling but read a book (by "Dr. Gallup") just after the invasion and decided to get involved in polling, creating a company from scratch. Heald has been polling with Daghir for two years (since 2004, I guess). Daghir's first poll was in Baghdad, three weeks after the invasion. Daghir's had interesting comments on the "culture" of fear surrounding interviews, how people don't want to reveal their opinions, are afraid of the militias and so on.

Daghir discusses how different polling for him is now (2006) compared to when he started (2003). At the start, he just had one book and no experience. Now, he has gotten lots of help from ESOMAR (which I think is an international organization of market researchers) and research experts from around the world, people like Heald. Now, his polls are "according to international standards", before, not so much. The 19th minute is the key section. There has been a "great change in the methodology." Now, Daghir's polls are "totally different." Daghir discussed having a lot of trouble selling the initial polls.


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