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A gift from the Times

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, May 24, 2014

THE Tebbutt Times Poll was launched in 1992, and was conducted by Tebbutt Research for The Fiji Times for the following 18 years.

The poll became an extraordinary voice for public opinion in Fiji and was respected locally, regionally and globally for its professionalism and the contribution that its results made to public debate on important issues of the day.

The Tebbutt Times Poll was a scientific and objective measure of public opinion in Fiji, based on true random sampling and using globally-accepted measures and procedures.

The Tebbutt Times Poll historically has covered a wide range of issues including political, economic, social, human interest and sensitive topics.

It has been path-breaking in terms of its preparedness to canvass public opinion on controversial issues, including the Sunday ban, gay marriage, the church and politics, violence against women, and of course the performance of our political leaders.

Public opinion polling is the study of people's attitudes and beliefs about political, social and other issues.

It is a branch of marketing and social research, and as such, it is subject to the same professional and ethical requirements as all marketing and social research.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and ESOMAR (the world body of social, opinion and marketing research professionals) publish a joint International Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice.

Public opinion polling is recognised as a special "sensitive" area because its issues often arouse interest and emotion, its findings are published and debated by lay people and can sometimes be confrontational to an individual's beliefs and personal opinions.

For these reasons, there are special guidelines published by ESOMAR on public opinion polls. These guidelines are developed and published in conjunction with WAPOR (World Association Of Public Opinion Research).

Tebbutt Research is a corporate member of ESOMAR and a full member of WAPOR and as such, commits to conducting public opinion polls in line with global best practice and standards.

Its managing director Caz Tebbutt is the Fiji and South Pacific representative for ESOMAR, appointed in 1995.

The Tebbutt Times Poll is conducted using random sampling methods with interviews completed in person across Suva, Lami, Nasinu, Nausori, Nadi, Lautoka and Ba. The first poll to be published this coming Saturday was conducted between Monday and Wednesday this week.

Ms Tebbutt said she was pleased to see the Tebbutt Times Poll back as a regular feature in The Fiji Times, and trusts that its results would help to stimulate discussions on the topics it canvasses.

"It is important to inject public opinion into the topical issues of today where possible — the timing is excellent," she said.

The Fiji Times Ltd general manager Hank Arts said it was with pleasure that The Fiji Times Ltd welcomed back the Tebbutt Times Poll, which had been part of Fiji research for many years.

"We see this as yet another positive step towards credible elections," Mr Arts said.

"It is a gift from The Fiji Times to our loyal readers and will assist all of us to make informed decisions. The research will focus on highlighting important issues that our readers wish to expose for open debate," Mr Arts said.

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