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Are the Results of Exit Polls Reliable?

Elections define the political course of a country. In the campaigning period before the elections, some stick to their TV screens, while others surf the internet to read about the recent updates. Websites providing political information become a pivot for such news. People who want to express their thoughts turn to these websites. Are you a free thinker looking to share your political opinions? If yes, then learn how to create a political website and connect with people who share the same thoughts as you.

Also in the period just before the elections, the political parties and survey agencies deploy their representatives to different polling stations and ask people about their voting preferences. Based on these results, political experts and media personalities appear on the TV screens and the predictions about the winners and losses begin. Because of the public’s ever-increasing interest in the political scenario, these early results make waves. But, how reliable are the results from the exit polls?

Looking at the Process

Let us first have a look at the protocols that give us these results. This way, we can see strong points and loopholes of the entire process.

  • Selected interviewers are sent to zones all around the country.
  • They handover questionnaires to voters asking them election-related questions.
  • The interviewers compile the results and call their exit poll headquarters many times in a single day to update them on new data.
  • People from the Associated Press are deployed to gather actual vote returns–often a day before elections.
  • Both of these results are combined and sent to the agency in charge.

Now that the process of data collection is clear, we can move to the next step of deducing flaws that exist in the system.

Possible Flaws in the Exit Poll Collection Process

  • The deployed agents predict the number of absentee voters. This means that it is up to the interviewers to give a number to the absentee voters’ column that can result in major flaws.
  • Since the data is entered manually, a minor clerical mistake can result in inflated results.
  • Because of the competitive nature of the media outlets, patience is kept at bay resulting in premature result announcements.
  • Lack of interviewer training will result is poor data collection and projection.
  • Proper communication is the key, any lag or flaws will cause errors.

Since the process of exit poll data collection is done manually, flaws are inevitable. The responsiveness of people coming out of the polling stations is also crucial to the entire process. People sharing false information can also result in fairly altered end results.

Final Thoughts

Exit polls are just polls, they are not a result of some thorough research but are conducted just to test the waters and predict what might be in store. Nevertheless, over the course of time, the process has been made more efficient than in the past – such example is the UK. The idea behind exit polls is great. Predicting the exact outcome of an election that is taking place countrywide in a matter of hours is a huge leap.

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