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From Pollsters to TV News: Big Questions Over 2024 Lok Sabha Exit Polls

From market rigging to transparency and credibility, 2024 Lok Sabha elections exit polls raise concerns.

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Scripting and Video Editing: Zijah Sherwani

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Axis My India's Chairman Pradeep Gupta broke down on live TV after he got the exit poll predictions completely wrong for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. As he got emotional over his predictions defying the results, the anchors made a feeble attempt at consoling him while the camera kept zooming in on his face.

Pradeep claimed that they have been conducting exit polls for the last 10 years, covering 69 elections, out of which they have been correct 65 times.

Axis My India’s exit polls had predicted a landslide victory for the NDA with 361 to 401 seats, aligning with the BJP’s ‘400 paar’ poll slogan.

However, it is not just about Axis My India's poll predictions going wrong; all other major exit poll predictions for news channels were completely off the mark this time.

This raises concerns over the credibility, reliability, and accuracy of exit polls and the agencies conducting them, as well as the TV news channels that commission them and spent hours on TV predicting the number of seats over equally important aspects like vote share estimates or methodological details, forgetting the difference between real exit polls and estimate polls.
Regarding exit polls, bias, and the hype created around them, it must be acknowledged that the current pollsters’ practice of not disclosing complete methodological details, particularly the confidence levels and margins of error, diminishes their credibility and validity. The effects are dire, as seen from what’s happened to India’s stock market performance in the past few days.
Deepanshu Mohan, Author

Many questions arise:

  • Does this indicate a manipulation trick to rig the Sensex market?

  • Why weren't the methodology framework, margin of errors, transparency, or even the sample size of the polls questioned?

  • How did the exit polls miss the ground realities as the results show?

  • Mr. Gupta, on result day, blamed that the 'Dalits didn't speak' and 'voters exiting the polls were unreliable in answering the questions' - why these issues not considered important enough to be discussed in the exit poll coverage?

The trust and credibility of TV media have been continuously diminishing over the last 10 years, which has also earned them the name 'Godi Media'. The exit poll and election results coverage being the latest example of this. How long will it take for TV news to change the discourse?

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On 6 June, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi held a press conference and alleged that there was a link between the Exit Poll results and stock market crash. He further alleged that PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah gave stock investment advice to the citizens, and demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the same. This comes two days after the 'INDIA' bloc won 234 seats in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

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