The seventh and final phase of polling for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will take place on Sunday (19 May) in 59 constituencies spread across seven states and one Union Territory.
While the final election results will be out on 23 May, everyone is anxiously awaiting the exit poll results released after the last phase concludes.
Here's everything to know about exit polls.
What exactly are exit polls?
Election exit polls are nothing but polls taken of voters immediately after voting; these polls are conducted after the voters have left the place of voting. The gathered data is analyzed after which the derived information is used to predict the outcome of elections.
How are exit polls of elections conducted?
In India, there are various methods that different agencies use to conduct exit polls of elections. The most basic process in carrying out exit polls is sampling.
Determining the sampling pattern is one of the toughest tasks for agencies especially when conducting exit polls on a larger level for the General Election. It requires a lot of time, manpower, and machinery.
Some agencies opt for random sampling, others for systematic sampling
While some agencies go for random sampling of the electorate or the election constituencies at the state and national level, some opt for systematic sampling.
In India, election forecasting is complex and analysts use different techniques to predict the outcomes with a lesser margin of error. Some of the common techniques include Cube Law, Index of Opposition Unity, and Probabilistic Count.
What challenges do agencies face while conducting exit polls?
Conducting exit polls involves a lot of challenges for the agencies. One of the biggest challenges is the conversion of vote percentage to the number of seats.
The voter turnout, vote share, adequate sample size, proper sampling, and the rural-urban divide are some of the most important factors that impact exit poll results. So, missing data or miscalculations would result in wrong predictions.
Are exit poll results reliable?
Exit poll results may not be completely reliable as it isn't easy to predict the actual results with accuracy. However, these results (if exit polls are conducted properly) can give an idea of the trend and to some extent predict what the outcome could be.