EXIT POLLS - FACT OR FICTION?

India is gearing up for Judgement Day - May 16, 2014, when the results of the mammoth General Elections 2014 will be announced. Currently, a slew of exit polls have been doing the rounds, with people trying to predict who could be the new Prime Minister of India.

What is an exit poll?

An exit poll is a poll conducted to gauge the outcome of an election before the results are out – simply put; an exit poll is conducted to predict which party will form the new government, before the official verdict is revealed to the general public.

It must be noted that exit polls do not in any way, provide accurate results of the elections

What are the terms and conditions related to an exit poll?

According to a circular sent to chief editors / heads of television channels and print media and all chief electoral officers,

“No person shall conduct, publish or publicize any exit poll through print or electronic media from the moment polling begins, until half an hour after polling concludes in all States and Union Territories.”

Should exit polls be conducted?

Exit polls are conducted to gather public sentiment on ‘who would form the next government’.

However, conducting exit polls before counting day could influence public opinion if it is discovered that repolling or countermanding (declare a vote or election invalid) may have to be organised in certain constituencies before counting day.

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