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exit poll


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Opinion poll conducted at the exit from the polling station, when people have already voted. The advantages of an exit poll over a conventional opinion poll of voting intentions are: 1 People seem less likely to mislead about what they have already done than in their statements of what they intend to do.2 Relatedly, an exit poll interviews only people who have voted and therefore avoids the errors inevitably associated with guessing how many of those who say they will vote, or abstain, will actually do what they say.3 It is easier to interview the correct proportions of people of different socio‐economic groups in an exit poll than in a conventional quota sample (see survey research).In recent general elections in Britain and elsewhere, exit polls have produced predictions closer to the actual result than any preceding poll. It would be very disappointing if they did not. Exit polls will certainly continue to be used by media predictors of election results, who can bring powerful processing and computing resources to bear on the data in order to get a prediction of the national result before the votes have been counted. However, the limitations they share with all other quota samples make academic analysts cautious about using them, and their essential brevity limits the study of the underlying reasons for vote choice.

1 People seem less likely to mislead about what they have already done than in their statements of what they intend to do.

2 Relatedly, an exit poll interviews only people who have voted and therefore avoids the errors inevitably associated with guessing how many of those who say they will vote, or abstain, will actually do what they say.

3 It is easier to interview the correct proportions of people of different socio‐economic groups in an exit poll than in a conventional quota sample (see survey research).

Subjects: Politics.


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