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As the elections approach, the debate over opinion polls and exit polls is unlikely to die down any time soon. After a sting operation on the C-voter survey, a pre-poll agency whose surveys are used by various news outlets, questions were raised on both the legitimacy and necessity of these surveys.Political parties have for long opposed opinion polls as and when they found the results going against them. When the pre-poll surveys before state elections predicted a Congress defeat, the party issued an advisory to its workers asking them to not turn up in TV shows based on these polls.In a debate moderated by Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN IBN, right after the C-voter incident, sociologist and political analyst Dipankar Gupta said that just because there have been instances of manipulation, doesn't mean the process should be banned yet.Columnist Vivek Dehejia in his column in the Business Standard counters opinions expressed by other journalists which emphasised that it would be foolish to say that opinion polls actually influenced the voter. Dehejia cites a research by Manasa Patnam which looks at exit polls in India and says that voters might actually be influenced by exit polls.Summarising Patnam's findings, Dehejia writes:"If early voters heavily favour party "A" over "B" - merely because early-voting regions contain a disproportionate share of "A" supporters - there might be a momentum swing in favour of "A", which would not have occurred if a different region had voted first. On the other hand, heavy early support for "A" could galvanise supporters of "B" voting in later phases of the election to come and support their party in greater numbers, and so there might be the opposite impact."If that is indeed the case, then the argument against the existence of opinion polls gains in legitimacy. However, like Gupta pointed out, instead of banning the polls completely, there is merit in appointing an independent regulatory body to keep a watch in these polls.But exit polls aren't the only medium to influence opinion and spread rumours among voters.In this age of social media, it wouldn't be too difficult to make impressions, courtesy the mammoth internet armies most parties have. Word-of-mouth, village meets, informal gatherings - there are more than just one means through which ideas can be spread among voters.Read the complete Business Standard article here.Manasa Patnam's original paper on how opinion polls can influence voters can be found here.

Tamil Nadu polls: In the election manifesto war, who will will the battle of patronage politics?

from firstpost

Tamil Nadu polls: In the election manifesto war, who will will the battle of patronage politics?

In a country where theres no accountability on poll-promises, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithas jumbo manifesto hasnt surprised many. Some called it freebies and patronage, while some, welfare. E...


Lalu Yadav appears in CBI court over fodder scam

from firstpost

Lalu Yadav appears in CBI court over fodder scam

Patna: RJD chief Lalu Prasad and former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra on Friday appeared in a special CBI court here over their involvement in a multi-crore fodder scam, a government lawyer sa...

AgustaWestland: Facing heat in Parliament, Congress hits the streets

from firstpost

AgustaWestland: Facing heat in Parliament, Congress hits the streets

New Delhi: Having run out of almost all possible options to defend itself in the AgustaWestland case with its demand for a Supreme Court monitored probe rejected in the Parliament on Wednesday the C...

After claiming 'Congress is India's soul', Rahul, Sonia, Manmohan detained by cops

from firstpost

After claiming 'Congress is India's soul', Rahul, Sonia, Manmohan detained by cops

Facing a lot of flak over the AgustaWestland scam, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday launched a scathing attack on theNare...

Parliament Live: AgustaWestland chopper scam on the agenda in LS, RS raises drought issue

from firstpost

Parliament Live: AgustaWestland chopper scam on the agenda in LS, RS raises drought issue

The Parliament, in its second week of the Budget Session, had aset of controversial round of discussionsonWednesday. The BJP and the Congress clashed over the alleged AgustaWestland chopper scam in th...

Phones, wi-fi, electricity: AIADMK's manifesto for Tamil Nadu polls is full of freebies

from firstpost

Phones, wi-fi, electricity: AIADMK's manifesto for Tamil Nadu polls is full of freebies

Perundurai: Ruling AIADMK on Thursday promised a slew of freebies in its manifesto for the 16 May Assembly elections, assuring mobile phone to all ration card holders, free 100 units of power and wi-f...

Caste Not a Talking Point in Tamil Nadu Elections

from ibn

Caste Not a Talking Point in Tamil Nadu Elections

Chennai: In poll bound Tamil Nadu, caste violence is on the rise but major parties like AIAMDK and DMK are silent on it fearing a backlash from the dominant Thevar community. Twenty-year-old Kausalya...