Doing the social media rounds at the moment is the results from an online poll which claim to show 91 percent of Facebook users are unhappy under the present Thai government.
Asking, “Are you happy under the NCPO government?”, Prachamati.org presented participants with a happy face – to indicate “yes” – and an unhappy face – clicks on which indicated “no”.
The NCPO government refers to the National Council of Peace and Order, headed up by prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, which took power of the Kingdom during the 2014 coup d’etat.
The poll ran on Facebook through 21 January 2016 to 27 January 2016 and elicited a total of 5,787 responses.
Overwhelming, those participating chose the unhappy face which took 5,266 votes in total – 91 percent. Just 521 voters chose the happy, smiling face.
Reasons given for unhappiness include freedom of expression issues, a lack of transparency in the public sector, rising costs of living and problems with the economy. Participants happy with the government cited the lack of conflict and the preference for Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government rather than previous corrupt, if elected, governments.
Little analysis has been given to the wording of the question posed – it’s well documented how question phrasing can skew poll results – nor the demographics of the sample. Facebook users in Thailand are likely to be younger, more liberal, urbanites than the rest of the population at large, which is likely to play a large part in political feeling.
While the poll shouldn’t be discounted – particularly as it paints such a starkly different picture to results published by the National Statistics Office at the end of the last year which saw over 99 percent happy with the government’s performance – such extreme polling results reflect the need in Thailand for more, and better, polls.
Regular opinion polls are a huge part of political life in many Western countries and are used for gauging public reactions to new policies and legislation, as well as for measuring the popularity of politicians and parties. They’re useful to determine public feeling and aid the democratic process.
A wide range of polling firms should be asking a wide range of questions in Thailand in order to best determine accurate political sentiment and real-time public reactions to new developments and policy. Only with such a breadth of information can we really begin to accurately analyse public opinion.
Featured image is via TechCrunch