Assembly elections in five states including Uttar Pradesh have already been sounded. Polling and results dates have also been announced. Nowadays, many opinion polls have come into existence. News channels, in association with surveying agencies, conduct opinion polls, which give a tendency to the mood of the public. But there has always been controversy and debate about the accuracy and legality of these opinion polls.
Some people believe that opinion polls are propaganda, business, drama and fabricated, which try to influence public opinion towards a political party or ideology. While some consider it a part of ‘freedom of expression’, it is also a meaningful initiative for the freedom of the press and the strengthening of democracy. But questions have been raised, and these questions also arise because most opinion polls have failed to give the right results. The result given by them is contrary to the voting done by the people.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the opinion poll showed that the government of BJP is in lead but when the results of election came the government of Congress won. Moreover, opinion polls have been proved wrong in many states. Ever since social media came in, a different game has started with opinion polls. Survey agencies, journalists, news channels and newspapers are conducting online surveys on any issue including elections. Many social media accounts continue to give only survey results. However, opinion polls are a massive teamwork. It contains the opinion of voters residing in most of the Assemblies or Lok Sabha in that state or country. Let’s first know the whole process of opinion polls…
Opinion polls try to know the mood of the people and its decision before the elections. At the same time, opinion poll is an attempt made to know the popularity of political leaders and trending topic.
Sampling is very important for opinion polls, as the legality and authenticity of opinion polls depend on their sample size. Sampling selects the target population. Explaining sampling in easy words, as we test some rice grains while cooking rice in the kitchen to find out if the rice is cooked properly or not. Similarly, some voters from various assemblies of the state conclude that this time the So-and-so party candidate will win the election in the assembly.
What is the swing of opinion polls?
There have been several accounts on social media about opinion polls that continue to release poll results from their social media accounts. Name @LokPoll Lok Poll on Twitter. On visiting this profile, we found that the results of the poll have been released continuously. The result of an opinion poll has been released from this account on 11th January, 2022 for uttar pradesh elections. According to this result, BJP+ 207, Samajwadi Party+ 162, Congress-14, BSP-13 and others are seen winning 7 seats in UP.
Lok Poll Opinion Poll for 2022 Assembly Election in #UttarPradesh.
— Lok Poll (@LokPoll) January 11, 2022
It is noted here that there is no disclosure of sample size with the result of this opinion poll. Nor is it mentioned in which month samples were taken for this poll. What is their timeline?
Earlier, on 30th December 2021, another opinion poll on UP was conducted by Lokpal. According to the result, BJP-198, Samajwadi Party-151, Congress-25, BSP-15 and others got 14 seats. The result of this poll didn’t mention sample size, sample area and month or period for sampling anywhere.
Lok Poll Assessment for 2022 Assembly Election in #UttarPradesh.
— Lok Poll (@LokPoll) December 30, 2021
In addition, an opinion poll has also been issued by Lokpol on Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab elections.
WordCloud tells us what words were mostly used in the tweets. Some words include “election results”, “BJP”, “INC”, “assembly elections” and “Municipal Corporation”
The timeline of lokpol’s account was linked to Twitter in December 2020 and has been active since then. He has tweeted the most in March 2021.
The account mentioned by Lokpol mostly includes itself and then @AsiaElects, @Apnipartyonline, @BJP4UK etc.
Use of hashtags:
This figure shows which hashtags were mostly used in Lokpol’s tweets. #ResultWithLokPoll was most commonly used 130 times, followed by #LokPoll more than 100 times.
Most liked tweet:
Opinion polls are said to act like voter makers to influence voters. Opinion polls try to influence voters. In the view of these concerns, in 1997, the Election Commission held a meeting with political parties on exit and opinion polls for the first time in the country. Most of the parties in this meeting were of the view that these poles are unscientific and their nature and size are based on discrimination.
However, there is a law on exit polls. Under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, exit polls cannot be made public before voting but can be published or broadcast only half an hour after the completion of the voting process.
More problems with opinion polls have become more serious at present as the Election Commission has granted permission to virtual rallies till January 15. All election programs including meetings, rallies, road shows, bike rallies and cycle travel have been banned. Therefore, all parties have been allowed to hold virtual rallies. Therefore, all parties have been allowed to hold virtual rallies. In this environment, if opinion polls come into existence without having authentic sources, it can greatly affect the voters. This situation is not right for elections and effective democracy