Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Exit Polls - a sham!

After nearly 15 years, the largest and most populous state in India has got a stable government. Atleast till somebody applies a wedge on BSP, UP government will not fall due to any coalition tactics! Congratulations and All the best voters of UP!

Now that the dust has settled, I am just thinking about the exit polls conducted by various media. Every exit poll suggested a hung assembly. Here are the links to the various exit polls -
Mayawati set to get 160 seats in UP
BSP leads, BJP slips in UP elections

Please find below a little bit of layman-level analysis on these exit polls.

Just take a look at the error percentages!

Many of the error percentages are hovering around 100%.

I am wondering how a statistically conducted exit poll could be so very wrong? That too all the exit polls are blatantly wrong!!

That makes me wonder how these exit polls are conducted. How do they choose their samples? Are these samples representative of the voting population? Or, do they conduct exit polls sitting in their offices?

This is not the first time exit polls went totally wrong. In the last General Elections, all the News Papers and News Channels fought so much to present their exit poll results - "BJP will be the winner"!!
Alas, the actual result was a severe drubbing to the BJP as well as these 'exit poll stalwarts'!
One of the news channels even made hay, during last General Elections! They timed this and went public! They cashed on the 'exit-poll wave' and they were over subscribed more than 10 times!

The fourth estate (as the media is called) is supposed to sensitise the people when something wrong happens!
However, has any news channel / news paper owned up to its mistake? They have just swept it under the carpet.

I am 100% for 'Freedom of the Press'. But, Freedom comes with some responsibility.
The media should own up to their mistakes. The Press Council of India should come up with some guidelines for conducting exit polls.

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