What is the exit survey?
Exit polls are an examination of thousands of voters right after they’ve cast their ballots. It includes England, Scotland and Wales but it does not include Northern Ireland, where a distinct set of parties govern the political scene.
What is the process?
The exit poll was based on the 144 constituencies of England, Scotland and Wales. The constituencies are selected to represent the demographics of the country, and balanced between urban and rural seats and slightly weighted to favor marginal areas.The same constituencies are scrutinized between elections to the next to ensure consistency. There are however a handful of exceptions to the rule in the event that a seat disappears off the map of electoral districts due to of boundary changes, like or if it is controlled by the Speaker, which is not normally contestable by other parties.
Exit pollsters are based at the polling place of their choice in a specific area. The voters who emerge from the polling place are questioned regularly – each 10th voter for instance by fieldworkers employed by polling experts Ipsos Mori. They are handed a copy of the ballot paper, and then asked to fill it in with anyone else watching. Then, they drop the fake paper into a container that can be opened in the future.
Most importantly, they don’t have to reveal publicly their vote The idea is that this improves the accuracy of the results, claims Stephen Fisher, associate professor of sociology of politics in Oxford University. University of Oxford.
These results then get scrutinized by a group of experts in the location of a secret in London.
How precise is the exit poll?
It is becoming more precise as the method gets better. The most common rule is that an exit poll which is close to 15 percent of the results is considered to be reliable, Prof. Fisher declares.
The exit poll of 2015 was more reliable than opinion polls conducted during the campaign, but it did not forecast the possibility of a Conservative majority.
For 2017, the initial survey from the poll accurately predicted that the Conservatives were going to be the most powerful party, but it fell from saying that there was a chance of a hung parliament.
One of the most disastrous mishaps came in 1992. Two exit polls, conducted by ITN and the BBC, BBC and ITN both predicted an unpopular Parliament. However John Major’s Conservative government was able to hold its place even though it had a smaller majority.
The initial results from the exit poll in 2019 won’t cover the final half an hour or so voting. If there’s a long-distance rush of voters which could affect the results the exit poll will get updated to include a different headline at around 23:00 GMT.
What is the deal with postal votes?
They’re not directly included but analysts are able to look at any evidence that suggests the changes of postal voters in the polls are different from the changes of voters in person, Prof. Fisher states.
What time will we be able to tell when we will know if the poll results were correct?
It could take some time for the complete picture to be clear, but if there’s an obvious trend and the first seats to be declared typically in the north-east region of England could confirm the prediction of the exit poll or not.The only method to know is to keep an eye the election on Thursday night.