Serge Sargsyan, Raffi Hovhannisyan, Artur Baghdasaryan Leading in Public Opinion Polls?

Thanks to a comment left by Onnik Krikoryan on this blog I found out about this public opinion poll published on Armenian Public Radio website. The poll in question was conducted by the British ComRes polling and research consultancy. The Public Radio article about it tells us:

67% of the Armenian population is confident that the leader of the Republican Party of Armenia, Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan will win the forthcoming presidential elections.

If the poll was conducted this Sunday, 55% of the enfranchised would participate in it. 38% of the voters would cast their ballot in favor of Serge Sargsyan, 13% – for Raffi Hovhannisyan, 12%- for Arthur Baghdasaryan, 8% – Artashes Geghamyan, 6% – Levon Ter-Petrosyan, 5% – Vazgen Manukyan, 4% – Gagik Tsarukyan and 4% – Vahan Hovhannisyan. Aram Karapetyan would receive 1%.

Interestingly, while I’m also quite confident, that Serzh Sargsyan is the clear front-runner of these elections, and that Raffi Hovhannisyan and Artur Baghdasaryan might as well be more popular then Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the way the material about the polls was laid out and presented in the Public Radio article left me with a strange feeling of being fooled and tricked. Reading this guide for journalists to opinion polls explained some of that feeling for me: journalists, PR specialists and news consumers alike all need to learn quite a bit about polls, before we start using them for manipulating public opinion. And at this point – I don’t see polls serving any other purpose than that in Armenia.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. wrote about the mechanisms of that poll. It says, that people, who asked to answer the question for that poll were not incognito. They provided their name and even address and phone number. It is European practice. But I think, that practice is not good enough for Armenian reality.

  2. Haykakan Zhamanak wrote about the mechanisms of that poll. It says, that people, who asked to answer the question for that poll were not incognito. They provided their name and even address and phone number. It is European practice. But I think, that practice is not good enough for Armenian reality.

  3. Well, all valuable points, but given the sorry state of the opposition I can believe that Serzh is the front runner. Whether Levon has so little support is another matter. Those I’ve spoken to who did support him were either on his side anyway or just dislike Serzh.
    However, the main issue is which of the candidates offer an alternative to Serzh, and I’d say that Baghdasarian and Hovannisian represent that more than LTP. For those that simply hate Serzh, LTP might well be the “alternative” if only because he stands more of a chance of uniting the opposition.
    We’ll know more next week when we’ll see if independent estimates put the number of people in Liberty Square as higher, the same or lower than 26 October.
    Re. opinion polls, sure they’re political, just as when people try to discredit them. It’s not whether they’re credible. It’s whether we want to accept them or whether we do. I’d say Serzh could quite easily have 38% support.
    But rather than try to ignore such polls, although treat them with a pinch of salt, may I instead suggest that those against Serzh instead work out who to try to use the 62 percent who don’t support him rather than play the same old games that have seen them divided and weak in every other election?

  4. Well, I’m not trying to discredit the poll or take it as absolute truth. In fact I’m not really interested in the results revealed by this poll at all. What I’m concerned about is how the journalists have used it in the Armenian media. There have basically been two approaches to covering this poll:
    1) The poll was conducted by this cool British organization, its 100% truth, Serzh is leading and will win the elections anyways…
    2) It was commissioned by CS Media (so it’s like biased, pro-government, etc.), it was done in a way that forced the people be more positive about Serzh, and we don’t like Serzh anyway, LTP will win no matter what, etc, etc…
    My concern is – we don’t see any analysis, we don’t see anybody asking why is it, that Tigran Karapetyan and Gagik Tsarukyan have 4%, or like you’re saying, what has Serzh done wrong to have alienated 62% of voters, or what has changed since the last time a poll was conducted, etc.

  5. The conclusion that Serzh is leading and will win the election is not proven by this poll. He needs to win the majority of votes — not 38 percent.
    As for how the media interprets the poll results, well,unfortunately, that’s a problem with polls everywhere.
    However, I would like to see serious analysis and yes, I can believe these results although understand they are not black and white.
    For example, Levon Ter Petrosian at 5 percent does not mean that. It means 5 percent have him as their first choice. However, if there were no other opposition candidates?
    Anyway, you get my point, but for now I can quite easily believe the results, but what matters more is what happens next and how each side responds to their relevant rating.
    Remember, this poll was about one particular Sunday. What about next Sunday? Or in January? Or more importantly, in February? The process has not yet ended.

  6. It is interesting, that no opposition candidate is trying to commission polls to check about their rating. It’s not that expensive anyway – I heard a poll costs from $5000 US to $20000 US, which is a small price to pay, once you consider the benefits of finding out your position and being able to work on a winning strategy.

  7. […] Public Radio, for example, reports the findings one poll that suggests Serzh Sarkisian holds a commanding lead over potential rivals. However, while most Armenians believe he will be the next president of the Republic of Armenia, […]

  8. Observer: how do you know there are no polls commissioned by the opposition? Perhaps those are not public?

  9. Good point. For example, during the May parliamentary election, the Republican party commissioned its own private polls and never released the data. It’s likely that others did too or if they didn’t, they should have. Anyway, I think that conducting such polls for internal purposes only is pretty much part of the electoral process.

  10. Mazd – I just saw this, and it kind of discredits the whole of my post :))))))))))))))

    Published on November 10, 2007
    Sociology has become the most favorite profession in Armenia, especially before the elections. As “Azg” daily informed before, according to some organization’s joint work the advantage of Serge Sargsian over the other candidates is indisputable.
    As an answer to that poll, the partisans of Levon Ter-petrosian have decided to conduct their opinion poll among the population.
    It’s informed that the poll will be conducted in all the provinces of Armenia.
    * Translated by L.H.

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