I was very positive re news that for the first time US offered conducting exit poll for presidential elections in Armenia and Armenian government green lighted that idea. However, mistrust towards local organisation(s) who were supposed to conduct exit poll made this good idea eventually cancelled.
"After intensive and detailed discussions with interested parties regarding a proposal to conduct exit polling in Armenia during the 2008 presidential elections, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and Baltic Surveys Ltd/Gallup Organization were unable to resolve all of the detailed procedural questions in a way that was fully satisfactory to all sides. Consequently, the U.S. Embassy and USAID have decided to cancel the project.
We continue to think that, in principle, exit polling can be a useful instrument for enhancing the transparency and credibility of elections. In this particular case, however, given the limited preparation time remaining prior to the February 19 election and the questions raised from various parts of the political spectrum, we decided it would be wiser not to go forward with a project that faced implementation problems and risked becoming an unhelpful distraction in the Armenian political debate."
While I consider this news as BAD news, in general, in relation to democratisation of elections in Armenia, I must admit that in current circumstances it is probably good idea. Unless US and others administer exit poll via truly independent agency, its conduct, instead of positive outcomes, would lead to something completely negative, fuelling speculations and eventually discrediting the whole idea behind the exit polls.
There is also another lesson from this whole ‘exit poll’ and other ‘pre-election poll’ stories. Mistrust towards all sort of polls in Armenia is so high (and conveniently so for many parties) that it’s almost impossible to get people accept the results, even in case of independent conduct of polls or (theoretical) clean elections.