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Exit Poll vs Opinion Poll: What are Exit Polls? How is it different from Opinion Polls?

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Assembly elections in five states – Manipur, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Upptar Pradesh – finally head towards an end with UP voting in its last phase today.

Exit Poll

Image: PTI

The voting for the seventh and final phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 is ending today. With this, the Assembly elections in five states including Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will come to an end. While Goa and Uttarakhand voted in a single phase on February 14, Punjab went to the polls on February 20. The hill state of Manipur voted in two phases– February 28 and March 5. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh held elections in seven phases between February 10 to March 7.


With the polls ending, all eyes are now focussed on the exit poll results. There is a take on the results that could hold a clue to people’s mood in five states where elections were held. However, as per the directives of the Election Commission of India, the exit poll can only be released after voting concludes and thus Exit Poll 2022 with detailed analysis of every constituency will be released only after 7 PM today, March 7 after voting concludes in Uttar Pradesh.


What is an exit poll?


An exit poll of an election is a survey based on interviews with voters after they cast their votes. Interviewers go to the various constituencies asking voters about their polls. After listening to what the voter has to say, a possible outcome of the election in constituencies is determined. While this is an effective method to know the outcome of a poll in advance, it tends to be inaccurate based on several factors including the public not saying his/her vote correctly.


What is an opinion poll?


While exit polls are held after the voter casts their vote, opinion polls are generally conducted before elections start. Here, the survey will be based on asking people about their opinions on which contestant is likely to win. Opinion polls are strongly followed by many as these pre-election surveys give out the people’s sentiment before the poll. The people included in an opinion poll may or may not vote, unlike in exit polls where they already did.  


Opinion polls can’t also be blindly believed as people often change their opinion in the run-up to the elections. Even, a large sum of people not casting their vote after participating in the opinion polls is a drawback. The major drawback of exit polls remains to be certain people who opt out of revealing who they voted for just after voting. However, both opinion polls and exit polls play a major role in the elections as it shows and sometimes manipulates people’s minds.


(Image: PTI)

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