There was a general consensus amongst panelists at the ‘Psephologists’ Corner—The Political Stock Exchange: My Predictions’ session at India Today Conclave 2014 that opinion polls were losing credibility and pollsters need to work harder to be seen as being above board. They, however, were categorical that banning opinion polls is not the solution. Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav said that there is a need for a regulatory authority to check opinion polls “because there has been systematic manipulation”.
Economist and psephologist Ashok Lahiri said pollsters could take a relook at the way they design their sample size for greater credibility. “There are decided and undecided voters. Had opinion polls been such an influence, the Delhi election results would have been different,” said V.K. Bajaj, CEO, Today’s Chanakya. Psephologist GVL Narasimha Rao took a dig at political parties saying that even if they consider opinion polls as nuisance, they are themselves great consumers of poll research. Political analyst Amitabh Dubey said the issue of which pollster is better can be left for the market to decide. S.Y. Quraishi, former chief election commissioner of India, said he cannot say for sure if opinion polls affect voters but “influencing even one vote is an offence”. The Election Commission does not want to regulate opinion polls but let there be an independent body, he added.
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