Dr. Tom Wolf has been a political scientist and research consultant for the Steadman Group since 2004. He is a face that is synonymous with Kenya's highly controversial political opinion polls and is an American national.
Unconfirmed reports have emerged in Nairobi that Dr. Wolf was recently summoned to State House and instructed in no uncertain terms to ensure that President Kibaki ratings MUST be made the highest in the 'Steadman' opinion polls. These reports received credence this morning when a caller claiming to an NSIS officer with 'interest of the country at heart' made sensational claims on Umoja FM (105.5) on air saying that Dr. Wolf had been threatened with immediate deportation unless he doctored opinion poll ratings in favour of the president. His spirited efforts to explain the ABCs of research methods fell on deaf ears. Things reportedly turned nasty at State House where he is said to have been slapped on the face by an enraged first lady for 'failing to heed instructions'. Personally, I doubt if Dr. Wolf would have offered much physical resistance. My conservative estimates put him at 5ft, 55kg.
Apparently, Steadman Group is now feeling the pressure not only from opposition leaders, but also from government side. ODM-K's Kalonzo Musyoka was reported to have had an early 3 hour meeting with Steadman MD Mr. George Waititu last week at a Nairobi Hotel. Now the State House summons appear to have forced the research company to questionably change its sampling parameters. Can previous opinion results be trusted then? Other sources contend that had Steadman stuck to their traditional sampling methods, Raila would have defeated Kibaki by a margin of 15 - 20%!
Interestingly, the Nation Media Group has also commissioned three different research companies to publish weekly provincial and national opinion polls on the three leading presidential candidates. All three research firms plus the Steadman Group have for the last eight weeks persistently placed ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga on the lead, albeit with varied ratings.
Yesterday, Dr. Wolf penned a lengthy article in the leading Sunday newspapers saying that the winner of this year's presidential poll will be determined by the voter turn-out. Whether this is as a result of the State House visit remains to be seen.
As it has been rightly pointed out, Steadman does not vote. The people will surely decide at the ballot box on 27/Dec/2007.