With elections around the corner, everyone, the general mass to the political parties, everyone is eagerly waiting for the results. This result takes some time to come out, and before they do, the media houses and newspapers conduct exit polls to get a better idea of who the voter actually voted. Just like before the election, an opinion poll is held, where the voters are asked whom they are going to vote for, exit polls are done after the voter has voted. To understand the perks of an exit poll you first need to know what are exit polls and also how accurate they are. In other words, the voter is asked whom they have actually voted for. It is conducted to gain an early indication as to how an election has turned out.
What are exit polls used for?
Just like any other poll conducted, exit polls to have various purposes, and that is to collect demographic data about the voters and to find out why they voted as they did. Since the actual votes are cast anonymously In secret, this is the only way of collecting information like this. After the information has been obtained, it is used as a check against, roughly indicating the degree of election fraud, if any. They are also used to see if a particular political campaign was successful enough or not. Exit polls have a lot of advantages like they can help estimate how the national voting pattern has changed, and also how the distribution of votes have changed in a particular constituency by comparing the result with previous exit polls. In spite of such these significant advantages, exit polls have some disadvantages or problems which cannot be unseen.
When you think as to what are exit polls unpopular for? You should know a few essential things. Like all opinion polls, exit polls by nature have a margin of error. Apart from the inadequate choice of demographic data and poor choice of sampling, exit polls miss out people who voted through postal ballot or any other form of absentee voting. The result might see a different fate when the absentee voting comes into play. Since exit polls are just obtained from people physically appearing to vote, the absentee vote might reveal a different verdict altogether, and exit polls are seen to be inaccurate then. Exit polls might sound easy to conduct, but a lot of things have to be kept in mind before conducting one. The distribution of voters is not even across different polling stations and also varies at different times during the day. As a result, a single exit poll might produce an imperfect analogy of the national vote.
Exit polls also prove to influence elections since when the exit poll results have appeared, it has provided a basis for projecting winners before the real polls have closed. Some countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany have made it a criminal offense to release exit poll figures before all polling stations have been closed, and some others like Singapore, have banned exit poll reveals altogether.
Since we discussed how exit poll results have shown bias and changed a verdict because of its influence on voters, for political parties, exit poll result can have both good and bad implications. If the result is in their favor, that might just help their chances to win; otherwise, it might have the opposite effect and help their opponent win. Keeping that aside, exit poll results should only be revealed, if they have to be revealed, only after the election is over, that way the election is fair and has no bias making the decision truly anonymous without any influence on it.