The publication of the first pre-poll survey by CNN-IBN and Deccan Herald has set the cat among the pigeons and stirred the hornets’ net. Those who find the findings to their liking (Congress supporters) are understandably delighted; those who do not (BJP and JDS supporters) are frothing at the mouth and finding fault with the sample size, methodology, and of course the previous record and credibility of the pollsters (CSDS) and the channel. If the findings were the other way round, the reaction would be the exact opposite.
Questions: Should the Election Commission, which has introduced ‘n+1′ number of measures to prevent voters from being swayed, allow such pre-poll surveys or should they be banned? Are such surveys credible exercises in gauging public opinion or they have become a device at the hands of a corporatised media to do their masters’ (and puppeteers’) bidding? Is a pre-poll survey an expression of our freedom of speech? Or have they become “an election before an election”—an attempt “to manipulate public opinion in accordance with the interests of the sponsors“? On the other hand, should a voter be exposed to all manner of views before she makes up her mind? Will such surveys and polls prevent fractured mandates?