Thursday, August 5, 2021

Should opinion polls be banned?

• Prime post invites readers to a debate

There are a number of agencies which have been conducting opinion polls in the five States which are going to polls from Saturday, 27 March 2021. There have been these exercises whenever and wherever elections are held. Only one organization or a TV channel comes close to the actual results. But there would be a lot of debate and discourse based on the results of opinion polls given out by different agencies. Do the newspapers, TV channels and the social media outlets impact the voting? It is a debatable question. There were occasions when the whole press was against Indira Gandhi, full of negative stories against her and forceful predictions of certain defeat but she emerged victorious. The media can indicate the public mood to an extent. No more and no less.

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Opinion polls are useful to the political parties in knowing their strengths and weaknesses. They are not a guide for the neutral voters to take a stand regarding voting preferences. Prof. KVN Rao, an accomplished teacher and author known for his works on Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, agreements, disagreements and disappointments, in a mail to me writes,” Pre-election opinion polls indicate the opinion of a very small section of people and that too in some selected constituencies. A party may make use of such survey to know its strengths and weaknesses and work out strategies to improve its prospects. For the general public who are not committed to any party ad are interested in voting for the possible winner, the polls may serve the purpose. In view of this, is it necessary for the TV channels to complete with one another in ‘predicting’ the winners. The public at large would not mind if these opinion polls are banned.”

Pl write your considered opinion in ‘comments’ column, or send them to me @[email protected]

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K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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