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Wednesday, Apr 14, 2004

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Poll surveys

Sir, — We see wide disparity among pre-poll surveys and also between the prediction and the actual election results. It is not an exaggeration to say that most of the surveys either follow incorrect methodology or are politically motivated. Thus such surveys neither provide accurate information nor have a good impact on the election results and, hence, they are not necessary.

A. Thirumalai Prakash,

Madurai, T.N.

* * *

Sir, — Opinion, exit polls and poll surveys are only attempts to ascertain trends before the actual elections. Their level of reliability and range of errors depend on the methodology used. It is certainly not true that these surveys will alter the outcome of the elections. The Indian electorate knows better.

R. Madhavan,

Salem, T.N.

* * *

Sir, — Psephology, as is proven by the wide deviation in final results time and again, is at best an imprecise science. Opinion and exit polls should not be banned as people have the right to information. But the credibility and room to manipulate the outcome are a matter of concern. In a survey involving 40,000 people polled across 200 constituencies representing diverse voter groups, classified on the basis of income, religion, rural-urban divide, etc., the number of people polled could be very low in a sub-group.

Subsequent analysis and declaration of outcome by armchair psephologists make a mockery of the possibly `sponsored' motives of these polls.

K. Chandrasekar,

Chennai

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