New Delhi: Once the voting for the high-stakes Delhi Assembly election will conclude at around 6 PM, numerous pollsters will release their post-poll predictions.

The embargo on exit polls will lift on Saturday evening at 6.30 pm. The final results of Delhi Assembly election 2020 will be declared on February 11, Tuesday.

(Delhi Assembly Election 2020 Full Coverage)

Here’s a primer on what exit polls are and how reliable are they?

How exit polls are conducted?

An exit poll is a post-voting survey conducted soon after a voter walks out after casting his/her vote.  The sole aim of an exit poll is to predict the result of any election based on the information collected from voters.

They are conducted by a number of organisations. Sampling is the basic step to predict exit polls.

How an exit poll is different from an opinion poll?

An opinion poll is conducted to ascertain the public opinion before voting, while an exit poll happens right after polling. Opinion poll asks the voters, whom they have planned to vote but an exit poll asks for whom the voter actually voted.

How reliable are they (exit polls)?

Time and again, these exit polls have proved wrong. At several instances, they have had predicted the verdict of an election incorrectly. Last year during Haryana Assembly elections, many pollsters had predicted a clear majority for BJP but the final results were complete opposite.

In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, exit polls had wrongly predicted majority for BJP-led NDA coalition. In 2009, they had predicted defeat for Congress-led UPA.

However, in 2014 most of the exit polls were right as they had predicted an absolute majority (300+) for BJP. Today’s Chanakya had projected 340 seats for NDA and 291 for the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

What does EC advisory say? 

The Election Commission has advised media houses not to publish or publicise any article or programme related to the dissemination of results of exit polls during the prohibited period.

“Election Commission of India, in exercise of the powers under sub-section (1) of Section 126 of the Representation of the the Peoples Act, 1951 has notified the period between 8 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. on February 8, 2020 (Saturday) as the period during which conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicizing the result of exit poll by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner shall be prohibited in the ongoing General Election to the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi, 2020,” the Commission said.

Further, under Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, displaying any election matter including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey, in any electronic media, would be prohibited during the period of 48 hour, the EC added.