The Big Picture – Exit Polls: Have they become guessing games?
Exit polls are one of the important features in a democratic setup. However in recent elections exit polls have gone far than what they tend to portray. Most of the exit polls that were making rounds before the elections either went wrong or too far the actual picture. The article deals with the issues associated with the exit polls and what is its impact.
On a larger scale English media while publishing exit polls tend to overlook the ground realities. English media tend to focus more on discrete issues like Bodos in Assam, Naga Insurgents, Dalits, etc which fail to capture the real picture. At the same time vernacular media have a firm grip over the local issues and they are better off compared to the English media.
Secondly India being a heterogeneous society has population belonging to different regions and people of community. Having such society and predicting exit polls from different region is a tough job as it is very difficult to extract the truth from rural masses as to whom exactly he/she voted. Many believe that the fear factor is present in states like Bengal where people normally tend to mislead the pollster or give falsified information about the number of votes voted for a particular party.
The nexus between Media houses and news paper is also adding salt to the process of publishing exit polls. Exit polls without proper checks and balances have become some sought of infotainment and even entertainment maligning the entire process of exit polls.
Media needs to have proper accountability while conducting exit polls. After elections exit polls in democratic set up helps to have a sense of an estimate about the prevailing national or state mood. This may become sought of case study for political parties for future elections in understanding the ground realities and to rectify the mistakes. In this sense exit polls have a responsible role in letting the public know about the prevailing atmosphere in the existing and far away regions. Public can hold the political masses accountable and failed political parties can rework to win the confidence of public in next election.