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What Are Exit Polls?

Context:

Recently, the exit polls results were released for five states Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance (Representation of People’s Act)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are exit polls?
  2. Issues with exit polls
  3. Rules governing exit polls in India

What are exit polls?

  • An exit poll asks voters which political party they are supporting after they have cast their votes in an election. In this, it differs from an opinion poll, which is held before the elections.
  • An exit poll is supposed to give an indication of which way the winds are blowing in an election, along with the issues, personalities, and loyalties that have influenced voters.
  • History of exit polls in India
  • In 1957, during the second Lok Sabha elections, the Indian Institute of Public Opinion had conducted such a poll.

Issues with exit polls

  • Some common parameters for a good, or accurate, opinion poll would be a sample size that is both large and diverse, and a clearly constructed questionnaire without an overt bias.
  • Political parties often allege that these polls are motivated, or financed by a rival party.
  • Critics also say that the results gathered in exit polls can be influenced by the choice, wording and timing of the questions, and by the nature of the sample drawn.

Rules governing exit polls in India

  • In India, results of exit polls for a particular election are not allowed to be published till the last vote has been cast.
  • The issue of when exit polls should be allowed to be published has gone to the Supreme Court thrice in various forms. 
  • Currently, exit polls can’t be telecast from before voting begins till the last phase concludes.

-Source: Indian Express


 

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