Vivekananda School of Journalism & Mass Communication

Lecture 03 - Contradictions in Opinion and Exit Polls

The Internal Research Committee, VSJMC organized the second lecture of the Special Lecture Series on 1st October, 2019 in Auditorium, Block-B on the title “Contradictions in Opinion and Exit Polls”. The guest speaker for session was Sh. Sanjay Kumar, Director, Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). The event commenced with felicitation of the guest by Prof. Sidharth Mishra, Chairman VSJMC. Prof. Dr. Charulata Singh, Dean VSJMC welcomed the guest and expressed her gratitude on the topic and it’s bearing.

Sh. Sanjay Kumar began his lecture and elaborated on the relevance of the topic and how it is something an average Indian would always be keen on addressing. He then questioned the authenticity of polls and addressed the pre conceived notion of them being inaccurate. He explained how before reaching to conclusions it is imperative to gain knowledge upon the evidences, details and challenges faced while conducting a poll.

Giving stark examples from real life, Sh. Sanjay Kumar elucidated on why objectivity is important and presented data affirming a graph of polls in India since 1980 which showcased 75% success and accuracy rate of the total 883 polls conducted from then to present. He further clarified the difference between opinion and exit polls and why their accuracy rates differ. He expounded on the contrast of accuracy in predicting the winners and predicting the number of seats corresponding to various parties while declaring a data about how 75% times polls underestimated the winners.

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Sh. Sanjay Kumar further shed light on the broad trends in opinion and exit polls through presentation of data from Madhya Pradesh 2018, Chhattisgarh 2018, Rajasthan 2018, Maharashtra 2014 and Uttar Pradesh 2017 elections. The numbers were followed by stating the various structural and functional challenges faced during polling process such as social diversity of Indian voters, large number of political parties, biases within regions, dissimilarity between number of votes to seats and how these challenges can be overcome by selecting a diverse group of voters, multiplicity of parties and other vital solutions.

The session concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof. Sidharth Mishra who acknowledged Sh. Sanjay Kumar for an educative and information rich session. He also presented his view upon the various factors affecting the election system and elaborated on the nature of news channels wanting to hook audience and how it decreases the possibility of achieving accurate poll results.

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