IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 12th Nov 2020
“Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” – Unknown
EDITORIAL HUNT #238 :“How Should Smart Exit Polls look like ? | UPSC”
How Should Smart Exit Polls look like ? | UPSC
Atanu Biswas is Professor of Statistics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
Myths and the reality of election forecasts
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Elections
Why exit polls are not trustworthy in this digital age ?Do exit polls effect the voter’s perception ?Elucidate -(GS 2)
- Phantom Voters
- Exit Polls depends on
- Surveys and lessons
- Precision of Exit Polls (Important)
- Way Forward
- PREDICTIONS GO WRONG : Political experts struggled to explain the election outcome and claimed the polls “behaved badly”
- SILENT VOTERS : There are possible phantom voters and uncounted votes in the election procedure.
- SMALL DIFFERENCES : The difference between the vote shares of John Kerry and George W. Bush was 6.5% more than the actual.
- CREDIBILITY : Interestingly though, such was the credibility of exit polls even one and a half decades ago.
- HUGE MISMATCH : A huge discrepancy with the exit poll created a massive uproar worldwide.
- BENEFITTING THE OPPONENTS : The allegations of electoral fraud were strengthened by several exit polls exhibiting a substantial lead for Viktor Yushchenko.
- ROSE REVOLUTION : Similarly, widespread protests triggered the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, and culminated in the ousting of President Eduard Shevardnadze.
- POPULAR VOTE SHARE : The difference between the predicted percentage of votes for Mr. Biden and U.S. President Donald Trump compared to Mr. Biden’s final lead is more than 3%.
SURVEYS AND LESSONS LEARNT
- SELECTION BIAS : Poll predictions have failed miserably on many historical occasions including some which were in the developing process.
- MISLEADING PROJECTIONS : Most of the opinion polls of the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections either failed to project the winner or to foresee the margin of victory.
PRECISION OF EXIT POLLS DEPENDS ON
- SAMPLING : Underlying statistical principles used by pollster in designing, sampling, and analysing their data.
- REMOTE COVERAGE : Coverage of remote corners of the country and cover sensitive booths.
- MARGIN OF ERROR : Maintain the requirements for standard ‘3 percentage points margin of error’.
- ESTIMATIONS : Representing the population by approximately maintaining the proportions across gender, age, income, religion, caste.
- QUALITY OF PREDICTION : Thus, it is almost impossible to comment on the quality of their predictions, from a statistical point of view.
- REGULATIONS : Unless strong regulations enforce today’s pollsters to publish their methodology and summary statistics across different variables, poll predictions may not regain the trust of the people.
- TECHNOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS : There have been a lot of improvements in methodology.
- ELECTIONS VALIDATE RESULTS : Nobody really knows until the election, because only elections validate results.
- MARGIN OF ERROR : No matter what, there’s going to be a distribution of forecasts and a margin of error in surveys, and we need to remain cognizant of that.