IATE Term of the Week: Exit poll

May 23, 2014 12:20 pm

Polling station1An election exit poll is a poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations. Unlike an opinion poll, which asks whom the voter plans to vote for or some similar formulation, an exit poll asks whom the voter actually voted for. A similar poll conducted before actual voters have voted is called an entrance poll. Pollsters – usually private companies working for newspapers or broadcasters – conduct exit polls to gain an early indication as to how an election has turned out, as in many elections the actual result may take hours or even days to count.

Exit polls are also used to collect demographic data about voters and to find out why they voted as they did. Since actual votes are cast anonymously, polling is the only way of collecting this information.

Exit polls have historically and throughout the world been used as a check against and rough indicator of the degree of election fraud.

Marcel van Dam, Dutch sociologist and former politician, is credited with having invented the exit poll, and being the first to implement an exit poll during the Dutch legislative elections on February 15, 1967.

How is the European Parliament going to look after the European elections on 22-25 May? Read the latest estimate (19 May) from the European Parliament based on polling results from TNS Opinion here.

You can also find the latest news on the EU elections exit polls in the UK and Netherlands by consulting the following links:

Urban75: 2014 Elections: Urban Exit Poll – UK
Reuters: Dutch Eurosceptic party stumbles in European elections – exit poll
BBC: European elections: Dutch exit poll dilemma

exit poll screenshotWhile waiting for the exit poll results you might consider contributing to our IATE entry if your language is missing, or if you consider the proposed term inaccurate. Provide your answer with a reliable reference and an accurate definition and/or context if possible.

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Compiled by Claus Skovbjerg, MA, stagiaire communicateur at TermCoord

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