Report No. 255
(iii) Independence of polling agencies
8.10. The independence of the agencies/organisations is threatened by the possibility of opinion polls being manipulated to favour certain political parties, or through bias in choosing sample sizes. Apprehensions against opinion polls arose, for example, in February 2014, when a sting operation by a Hindi news channel claimed that numerous poll agencies were willing to manipulate their poll projections by increasing their margin of error by a certain percentage of points, in favour of certain specific parties.352
Notwithstanding the effect such manipulations may have on the voting patterns of citizens, it does shake the confidence of the people in the findings of such opinion polls. More importantly, for a first-past-the-post system like ours, this can spell drastic changes in election results and hence, the need for regulation of opinion polls should be urgently addressed.
352. ET Bureau, 'Sting operation reveals massive manipulation by poll agencies', The Economic Times, 26th February 2014