Polling Comes to Afghanistan, Suggesting Limit to Sway of President Karzai

In the 12 years since the United States helped oust the Taliban, Afghanistan has held four national elections. But Afghans are only now experiencing a phenomenon that has been upending conventional wisdom in more established democracies for decades: polling.

Three recent polls are giving Afghans a crash course in front-runners, horse-race coverage and candidates who eagerly dismiss any numbers that do not put them out front, topics familiar to Americans. …

How the information plays out remains to be seen, but it appears that Afghans — and the Western diplomats who are watching the campaign — would do well to heed an axiom of electoral politics: Do not trust the conventional wisdom. CONT.

Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times