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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.

#SeditionDebate: Use of massive force to supress the idea of Afzal Guru has only unleashed a bigger monster

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#SeditionDebate: Use of massive force to supress the idea of Afzal Guru has only unleashed a bigger monster

Historians will one day note that the crackdown against students of JNU strengthened the very idea the Indian state wants to suppress: That of Afzal Guru.It is a big mistake.If the use of force, guns ...


#SeditionDebate: Those trying to crush you are making you stronger, says Rahul Gandhi at JNU

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#SeditionDebate: Those trying to crush you are making you stronger, says Rahul Gandhi at JNU

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that by attempting to stifle those voices which are not in line with its views, the government has only succeeded in making them stronger. &q...

#SeditionDebate: Those trying to crush you are making you stronger, says Rahul Gandhi at JNU

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#SeditionDebate: Those trying to crush you are making you stronger, says Rahul Gandhi at JNU

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that by attempting to stifle those voices which are not in line with its views, the government has only succeeded in making them stronger. &q...

#SeditionDebate: If Bharat ki barbadi, Pakistan zindabad is not anti-national, then delete the word from dictionary

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#SeditionDebate: If Bharat ki barbadi, Pakistan zindabad is not anti-national, then delete the word from dictionary

Jeevan vyartha gayawon madho agar JNU me na padh payo, said a friend in late 1980s while taking long swigs of fresh air and a little bit of something else near Ganga Dhaba. He was right.Where on earth...

Congress and DMK will contest Tamil Nadu assembly polls together, says Azad

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Congress and DMK will contest Tamil Nadu assembly polls together, says Azad

Chennai: Congress and DMK today entered into an alliance to face the coming Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, joining hands after three years. Senior Congress leader and leader of the opposition in Rajya Sab...

#SeditionDebate: Fringe anti-national elements are not benchmark of JNU politics, say students

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#SeditionDebate: Fringe anti-national elements are not benchmark of JNU politics, say students

By Shishir TripathiAs the storm at the Jawaharlal Nehru University intensified overnight with protesters locking horns with the government over the arrest of students union president Kanhaiya Kumar on...

AAP failed to govern in one year? Well, take it, even the most well-intentioned of govts cant run Delhi

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AAP failed to govern in one year? Well, take it, even the most well-intentioned of govts cant run Delhi

New Delhi:Just how difficult is it to govern Delhi? Very. Thats the simple answer. As the Aam Aadmi Party nears the completion of its first year in office, serious doubts have been raised over its cap...