Lok Sabha Elections 2024: What are Exit Polls? When are they due? All you need to know

Exit Polls for Lok Sabha Elections 2024 will be out after the last phase of polling on June 1. The predictions are based on voter feedback collected by survey agencies after the polling.

Gulam Jeelani
Updated30 May 2024
Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Voters at a polling station during the sixth phase of voting for General elections, at MC School, 64 Khamba near Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Marg in New Delhi, India, on May 25, 2024.
Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Voters at a polling station during the sixth phase of voting for General elections, at MC School, 64 Khamba near Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Marg in New Delhi, India, on May 25, 2024. (Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times)

The voting for theLok Sabha Elections 2024 will end with the commencement of the last and seventh phase of polling on June 1.

Soon after the last vote is polled on June 1, exit polls by different agencies will start releasing numbers predicting the anticipated winners and the margin of their victory.

However, the Election Commission of India (ECI) will declare the final results on June 4.

Also Read: BJP-led NDA likely to win Lok Sabha election 2024, says Phillip Capital, recommends over 50 stocks to buy

The predictions are based on voter feedback collected by survey agencies after the polling. While the idea behind the exit polls is to reflect public sentiment well before the actual results are announced, their accuracy has faced scrutiny in the past.

When are Exit Polls Out?

The ECI prohibits conducting exit polls during the voting process, but they are allowed to be published 30 minutes after the last vote is cast. As per the rules, exit poll data cannot be released before6:30 pm on June 1, the last round of polling.

This is governed by Section 126A of the Representation of the People's Act, 1951. “No person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of the print or electronic media or disseminate in any other manner, whatsoever, the result of an exit poll during such period as may be notified by the Election Commission in this regard,” reads the Section 126A of the RP Act, 1951.

Yet, many TV channels start publishing the exit polls with a different name or title even before the last phase of the election is over, perhaps, due to curiosity about which party could be the possible winner.

The Rules

Any person who contravenes the provisions of the Section 126A shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with a fine or with both, as per the law.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Election 2024: ECI bans exit polls between 7 am on April 19-6:30 pm on June 1

To be in power at the Centre, a party, or coalition, has to win at least 272 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. In the 2024 elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ledNational Democratic Alliance (NDA) is seeking a record third term. The ruling alliance is challenged by the Opposition parties led by the Congress under the banner of the INDIA bloc.

Polling for486 of the 543 Lok Sabha seatswas over after the sixth phase on May 25. Voters from 57 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across eight states and Union Territories will exercise their franchise in theseventh and final phase of pollingon Saturday, marking the end of about 44-day-long polling exercise.

The results ofLok Sabha Elections 2024will be declared on June 4.

What happened in 2019, 2014?

In the2019Lok Sabha Elections, pollsters had predicted around 285 seats for the NDA. However, theBJP-led alliance marked a landslide victory by winning 353 seats, with the BJP alone securing 303 seats.Congress won 52 seats, and its UPA won 91 seats.

In the2014Lok Sabha Elections, the NDA was estimated to win around 257-340 seats. However, the NDA won336 seats.

Experts say that the accuracy of exit polls has improved over the years.

Also Read: ‘First PM to lower dignity…’, says Manmohan Singh slamming Narendra Modi for ‘divisive hate speeches’ in LS election campaign

“Since Exit Polls began in 1957, there has been an enormous improvement in at least one aspect, which is sample size. Gone are the days when a national sample of 20,000-30,000 was considered large,” writes Sanjay Kumar of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), a New Delhi-based research institute for social sciences and humanities, in Indian Express.

History of Exit Polls in India

The first exit poll conducted in India was conducted in 1957 when the Indian Institute of Public Opinion carried out a post-poll survey during the second Lok Sabha elections.

The state-run broadcaster Doordarshan hired CSDS to conduct exit polls across the country in 1996. After this, conducting surveys took off, and many players pitched in, most of them in tie-ups with TV channels.

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