What are exit polls? How are they calculated?

Exit polls are post-vote polls, which are conducted after voters cast their votes.

Created On: Apr 29, 2021 19:30 ISTModified On: Apr 29, 2021 19:31 IST
What are exit polls? How are they calculated?

The exit polls for four states and one Union Territory- West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be released today evening. The Election Commission has banned conducting or publishing any exit polls till 7.30pm today, April 29, 2021. 

What are exit polls?

The exit polls are post-vote polls, which are conducted after voters have cast their votes. The polls aim to predict the final result on the basis of the information collected from the voters after they walk out of the polling booth. Unlike an opinion poll, which asks the voter whom they plan to vote for, the exit poll asks the voter whom they actually voted for.

Who conducts the exit polls?

The polls are conducted by private firms and media organizations such as Today's Chanakya, ABP-Cvoter, News18, India Today-Axis, Times Now-CNX, NewsX-Neta, Republic-Jan Ki Baat, Republic-CVoter, ABP-CSDS and Chintamani.

How are they conducted?

Most of the agencies carry out exit polls through the method of random sampling. Some also opt for systematic sampling to predict the actual result. The agencies ask people from different age groups, gender, caste, religion and region whom they voted for.

While exit polls largely predict the outcome of the entire election, region or constituency specific exit polls are also released.  

How are the exit polls calculated?

The firms conducting the exit polls usually ask voters who they voted for and on the basis of that, they make their final result prediction. The prediction is solely based on the fact that the voters have given correct answers.

When are exit polls released?

The exit polls are only allowed to be published or broadcasted half an hour after the conclusion of the last phase of polling. The polls are released after approval from the Election Commission of India.

Why is there a restriction on the publishing of exit polls?

The Election Commission, exercising its powers stated under Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 prohibits the release of exit polls before the conclusion of polling, in order to safeguard democracy.

According to the Election Commission, publishing the prediction of the actual result before the conclusion of polling may possibly influence the minds of electors.

What does Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 state?

The section states that no person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of the print or electronic media, the result of any exit poll during such period. In case of a general election, the period may commence from the beginning of the hours fixed for the poll on the first day of poll and continue till half an hour after closing of the poll in all the states and union territories.

The section also prescribes that any person, who contravenes the provisions of this section, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.

Role of exit polls in India's election result prediction

How accurate are exit polls?

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