Exit Polls

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    In Context

    • Recently, the voting for Gujarat elections ended & the much-awaited exit polls will be out soon.

    About the exit Polls

    • An exit poll asks voters which political party they are supporting after they have cast their votes in an election. 
    • 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.
    • Difference between Opinion poll & Exit Poll:
      • An opinion poll is a pre-election survey to gather voters’ views on a range of election-related issues. 
      • An exit poll, on the other hand, is conducted immediately after people have voted, and assesses the support for political parties and their candidates.
    • Who conducts the polls & how?
      • Today, exit polls in India are conducted by a number of organisations, often in tie-ups with media organisations. 
      • The surveys can be conducted face to face or online.
    • Significance of Exit Polls:
      • 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.
    • Criticisms:
      • Exit polls can be controversial if the agency conducting them is perceived to be biased. 
      • Critics say the projections of these surveys can be influenced by the choice, wording and timing of the questions, and by the nature of the sample drawn. 
      • Political parties often allege that many opinion and exit polls are motivated and sponsored by their rivals, and could have a distorting effect on the choices voters make in a protracted election, rather than simply reflecting public sentiment or views.
    • Mandates on publishing these polls:
      • The issue of when exit polls should be allowed to be published has gone to the Supreme Court in various forms. 
      • Currently, exit polls can’t be telecast from before voting begins till the last phase concludes.
      • The EC also mandated that while carrying the results of exit and opinion polls, newspapers and channels should disclose the sample size of the electorate, the details of polling methodology, the margin of error and the background of the polling agency.
    • Global presence of Exit Polls:
      • Sixteen European Union countries ban reporting of opinion polls, with ban timeframes ranging from a full month to just 24 hours before polling day. 
      • Only Italy, Slovakia and Luxembourg have a ban of more than 7 days. 
      • The French ban has been reduced to 24 hours ahead of voting day.
      • In the UK, there are no restrictions on publishing results of opinion polls — however, results of exit polls can’t be published until the voting is over.

    Source:IE