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Monday, November 26, 2007

The Creative Arithmetic of The Steadmann Polls

I badly need some further education in mathematics to understand something that really puzzles me.

I wasn’t really all the bad in maths and I scored a decent credit in my O-levels, however my limited knowledge is obviously not enough to enable me fully grasp the latest Steadmann poll.

Here’s my simple question.

How is it possible for a presidential candidate to lead convincingly in 6 provinces but end up tying with his opponent who has a strong showing in only two provinces?

Don’t get me wrong. I am genuinely looking for answers here because I believe there is a logical explanation to this. One of the possibilities of course could be the fact that the single community, from which the latter presidential candidate is receiving most of his support from, outnumbers several other top communities in Kenya put together.

Having said that, let me add that the Steadmann folks are way too sensitive to effectively handle the very public and very political tool that they are dealing with here...

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The 5 most popular sories in Kumekucha today-Nov 26th

1. Was that really Raila Odinga on NTV?

2. Missed opportunity by PNU to bury ODM

3. Kenyan couple trying to shut down Kumekucha

4. ODM ad that no Kenyan media house will touch

5. What impact Kenneth Matiba's entry into presidential race?


Anonymous said...

forget the steadman group polls. as you rightly put it they have lost all credibility and i think this would be a good time to expediate their relocation plans to south africa to save the lost ground in east africa and kenya in particular!!
that said, we are in receipt of some some posters that are targeted at the kalenjin community to discredit the ODM presidential candidate JAKUOM!
These posters have been sanctioned bu the government printer and depict RAO hanging retired president Moi with the likes of ruto, gideon and other prominent kalenjin personalities lined up next to be hanged. the poster has further been translated into kalenjin with the message that the FBI inercepted a discussion Jakuom had with some americans and claims that he said that he would finish all these personalities once in state house come 2008 for the sufering he had to go through in their hands while they were in leadership!! now you know what such a thing would do given that the fomer president has been issuing threats in the ODM direction. since the goverment printer is in the loop of all this propaganda we may well assume that he is acting on express directions from state house. now chris this coupled with the booking of all spots by PNU until 25th december and booking of all flights and i mean choppers which they are not using shows you the level of desperation the PNU lot have stooped to. so you ask how a candidate can have a convincing lead in 6 of the 8 provinces and still be at par with his opponent? your guess is as good as mine!!!


Anonymous said...

Steadman will not be voting on 27 so if you don't like what they are churning out simply ignore them.
They will be come a darling once more when they start churning the right figures as they have doing in the last 4 weeks.

Anonymous said...




Vikii said...

I think the ODM supporters starting with all their leaders (And yes, some of them are professors)need to understand a little bit of elementary math. I dont mean to belittle anybody but it really pains me when people peddle pedestrian mathematical reasoning with such authority you would think they surely understand what they are talking about. It is better to abstain from these kinds of debates than make a mockery of your intelligence.

Chris, leading in six provinces and trailing is not drama. The 1992 elections were very close,(They were the closest in the history of Kenya). Matiba put up a very decent show. Now tell me where Matiba got his votes. Central and Nairobi are the only places that registered any significant Matiba presence. That coupled with a very negligible Shikiuku-enabled support in Western saw Matiba giving Moi a real scare and yet Moi was all over the place. This is not fiction, no, it is recent history!

Let's get back to Steadman and their statistics. One, the PERCENTAGE is a ratio. Summing up ratios and dividing the resulting sum by the number of the said ratios is unheard of. The resulting quotient is not only new to mathematicians, the contemplation of doing so defines a complete incompetence in that area, it disqualifies you from talking about it unless of course you are asking a question. This is what I am saying: Why would you treat 57% of N. Eastern Votes the same way you would 57% of R. Valley votes? That is exactly what The Standard is teaching their readers who are mostly ODMers. If Raila gets 70% of the vote in N. Eastern and 40% of the vote in R Valley and say Kibaki gets 55% of the R Valley vote and 20% of the vote in N. Eastern then according to The ODM theorem of Utopian maths, Raila wins these two provinces with 55% and Kibaki trails with about 35%. Does anybody see through the simplistic reasoning that this theorem is propagating?

Weighted averaging is something we really need to sit down and try to grasp. The sampling of the two thousand or so respondents was done in proportion to how many registered voters each province has. Get the register and and compute the expected vote by keying in the steadman percentages and you will arrive at the same final percentage figures.

Honesty is something we must learn to live with NOW. Steadman is, unlike most shouters out there, not all about Raila. They give an almost accurate estimation of how people are likely to vote. You fellows need to give us a break with your little cries that only surface when the tide appears against you. According to you strange thinkers, they should be carrying a poll that shows Raila with a 99% majority. That doesnt happen in real world. It can only happen in Dreamland where most of you appear to be long term tenants.

ODM and ODMK supporters (And I am one of them) need to tune their minds that defeat is inescapable. I am saying this because the next steadman poll will show Kibaki leading with at least three percentage points. They have reason to worry because these polls do not factor in expected voter turn out. The moment that is factored in (Based on past voter turn outs) then a three point lead for kibaki is a six or seven point lead in the actual vote. Which province does Kibaki have the biggest lead? It is Central and in 2002 68% of the registered voters there voted. Which province does Raila have the most comfortable lead? It is Nyanza and only 55% of the registered voters there voted. To add insult to injury, Kibaki's lead in Central is far much bigger than Raila's in Nyanza. Dont also forget that Central has more voters than Nyanza. So basically if all the dynamics likely to play out in the poll are factored in, then you guys will all be in serious shock.

Vikii said...

Chris, I do not mean to disrespect you at all but I endorse both comments done by Alex. I think it is important for ODM supporters to reread them, so they can apprehend some of these things better:

Alex said...
Taking the challenge from Chris, I post under my name but will not put my Job title or any other information since I do not yours or for any other person on this blog.

You probably have misunderstood issues here. in your great intelligence, you failed to notice that the issue was not that anyone is a die hard supporter of Steadman e.t.c. The issues are simple here. Steadman has been around with us for quite sometime now. For a larger part of this year, they have published poll results where Raila was on the lead and Kibaki trailed. Then the results were hailed as products of research per excellence. Now according to the polls Kibaki is closing on the gap (he is still not leading), and they have lost credibility, they are not objective, they are taking Kenyans for a ride, I dont know who was slapped by who in state house. Common Chris, this is crap! and by the way am sure you are aware of the other organisations doing weekly polling on the presidential candidates. would you care to tell us who is credible and has some moral soil under their feet??

My take is the election will be won on the ballot box on 27th not by steadman, infotrak, strategic research e.t.c. so if what they reflect is a manipulated poll or a personal opinion, so what? so do majority of the people here on this blog.(and others).

Lets do political commentary in an a way and that makes us more informed to make a decision on 27th (or ammend the ones we already have made.)

Alex said...
Chris, You are wrong again, I read this blog many times, steadman mentioned or not. I have only posted comments as annonymous before but will henceforth post using my name lest you brand me a coward (a word I detest.)

Some maths lesson for you - 90% of 10 is 9 and 10% of 100 is 10 - Obviously then, if a guy is said to have 90% of a province with ten voters and another has 10% of a province with 100%, the percentages notwithstanding, the one with 10% of 100 will win because winning is not about percentages but absolute numbers (a pity that the ammendment to have the president garner over 50% of all votes cast was rejected) then atleast that percentage would be important.
Second lesson, when calculating total percentage of the winning candidate in the polls, you dont take the percentages in all provinces and divide by 8. Big NO. you take the absolute numbers again and perform the maths afresh.

As for whether or not you support RAO or not...its out in the open...and there is nothing to hide from here - you have a right just like anybody else to take sides in this important. All me and others ask for is consistency and integrity in the debates!

6:23 AM

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making us know that we need to ensure 90% turn out in ODM strongholds. This is usefull, Most likely we'll be saying waivaa.. to Steadman on 28th let wait and see?

Anonymous said...


Second lesson, when calculating total percentage of the winning candidate in the polls, you dont take the percentages in all provinces and divide by 8. Big NO. you take the absolute numbers again and perform the maths afresh.

Taking the absolute numbers again and perfoming the maths afresh will yield a totally different figure than the one reported by Steadman group.

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

(Yawn!)I'm growing tired the Steadman polls debate. At least lets agree that everyone's math (and spiritual wisdom) will just add up to the same as Steadman's work if the polls favour their candidate.
Shall we talk about something else?

Anonymous said...


Are you aware that George Waititu's brother, Allan is the Director of Operations at Equity the politically correct bank which was well represented at the 1million bob a plate lunch?

In attendance was ofcourse the Chairman, CEO and Allan.


Phil said...

Chris, welcome back!

I am kindly asking you not to let the likes of Vikii, ‘Alex’ and PKW bully you. (PKW, please note the real muslim MOU is now out in the open, and the real Livondo - Born 00/00/1969 - has now been unveiled).

My original post about Dr. Wolfe’s visit to statehouse was done long before the latest Steadman opinion poll ratings were released. Therefore, the issue of doubting Steadman results because ‘our candidate is not leading’ does not arise.

Secondly, my original post was based on insider dossier received from very reliable sources. It may have been ‘unconfirmed’ only because the real culprit will never accept assaulting Dr. Wolfe. The truth of the matter is some very un-stately matters have been happening on that hill – majority of it too gory to publish here, but just to give Kumekucha readers a sneak peak, please let Alex and Vikii tell us why an injured high ranking member of society had to be re-admitted to hospital for an ankle fracture (not sprain) surprisingly while still confined to a wheel chair long after a road accident – and after having spent several months admitted to overseas hospitals? In other words, who assaulted who?

Thirdly, Umoja FM (101.5) aired confessions from an NSIS officer who confirmed the alleged assault. This has – for obvious reasons – been given a wide berth by both Vikii and Alex. And the normally sensitive PPU has not denied it either. I was hoping that instead of being taught basic math, we would be told that someone took time to find out why an NSIS officer would find time to visit a simu ya jamii to make such sensational claims. Whether true or not, it doesn’t help matters that these claims have been ignored completely. Dr Wolfe was not only assaulted, it is an open secret in the neighbourhood of the hill that he was openly threatened with deportation. This is a fact that Alex wishes never happened. (Besides, Dr. Wolfe is just but one of those who have been physically assaulted – many others have not have a voice to complain, including one Clifford Derrick).

Another critical issue is Steadman’s attitude towards handling doubts about their published results. If there is a change in methods used to determining results, however minor, and it is assumed that Wananchi will deem both the previous and current equally – does it leave us with any reason to trust Steadman at ALL?

Steadman MD – George Waititu was reported to have held a ‘private’ meeting with a Moi mole in opposition for three hours at a Nairobi hotel. The same mole sent his legal advisor to meet Moi and KIbaki’s Foreign Affairs minister. If I was steadman, handling such sensitive matters as presidential poll opinion ratings a few weeks to a major general election, I would have organised a small seminar for all presidential candidates and other interested parties and then articulated my way of doing this controversial poll because it is amatter of greatpublic interest and directly impacts on the future of this country. The proposed conference could have hosted all aggrieved parties (eg.Muiru, Umar, etc) in order to be seen as transparent and accountable. This was not to be, instead, Waititu opted to relax with one candidate at a five star hotel for three hours! – which is akin to a referee having lunch with the captain of a football team a few hours before a crucial cup final in order to explain to this captain how/why yellow and red cards are issued during the game!

Lastly, ridiculous allegations have been posted here about this blog being there to attract hits and thereby generate revenue for Chris. Why should that b e an issue if Steadman are known to earn millions of shillings and not ever been asked to explain why and for whom they are accountable to? This is a voluntary undertaking and I see nothing wrong when chris is paid ten or twenty thousand dollars for running a highly informative and entertaining blog. Is it a crime?

This forum is voluntary and in my opinion, 100 times better than the nations and standards of this world where letters to the editor are carefully selected before publication and those that are published are for the connected few like Prof. Makau Mutua – another mole purporting to always advise the opposition and the electorate while it is an open secret that a plum state appointment is yearned.

In conclusion: Let those who are disputing published articled address the questions raised in those articles instead of attacking personalities. It will help take us forward.

Vikii said...

Exactly. That last paragraph should be repeated to the Phils of this world. You really need to re-read it because this post is not about what you are writing talking of.

Let me tell you something Phil: No matter how forcefully you try to drag me to Nyatanga, huko siendi. "Creative Arithmetic of the Steadman polls" is the headline of the post. Why you want us not to talk about Arithmetic and Basic math but instead concentrate on matrimonial squabbles of some family living in some hill, I do not understand. Even if it were true that Kibaki was assalted by his wife, why should we make it front page news. I pity whoever is married to you because he/she must be contending with all dirty linen being washed in public. I put it to you for free that HE/SHE is embarassed for being your spouse.Rumour mongering is not my kind of trade Phil and please keep me away from it.

The issue is, do you, like all ODM supporters believe we should do a mean of the provincial percentage scores on the poll to come up with who is leading and by what margin? Dont answer me because even Anyang Nyong'o, yes that 'fountain of Knowledge' from Kisumu who should be the Secretary General of the UN, believes it. Who is little Phil to contradict the good professor?

About moles. Everybody who doesnt support Raila Odinga is a Moi's mole in opposition. That's a stupid argument at the very best because someone like Hon Kalonzo expressed his desire to run for the country's presidency five years ago. Someone admittedly used underhand tactics to frustrate his bid on October 14 2002. He became a mole the moment he refused to play second fiddle to someone he considers unworthy to lead not only him but also the nation. If I were Kalonzo, I would be a very proud mole. One thing I can assure u though is that even your idol Raila Odinga knows very well those he should respect and those he shouldnt. By the way what happened to Kalonzo joining PNU as you AUTHORITATIVELY reported here a month ago? If Makau Mutua is a mole as well, then everybody else is.

So Kalonzo meeting Waititu and Lucy Kibaki slapping Dr. Wolf are responsible for the dipping fortunes? Fine, let us wait for the polls proper then. I can bet my life that in about 33 days time you will be giving us some 'insider' leakages of how Kivuitu was slapped by both Lucy Kibaki and Pauline Kalonzo and threatened with prolonged torture if he doesnt doctor the results of the poll. You are as predictable as Raila Odinga my friend.

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