Fact-check | Fake exit polls swirl around Andhra Pradesh election

Media houses clarify that predictions of election outcome have been falsely attributed to them

Published - May 21, 2024 12:03 pm IST

This screenshot being circulated as Andhra Pradesh exit poll is fake.

This screenshot being circulated as Andhra Pradesh exit poll is fake.

With only two phases to go for the completion of the Lok Sabha election, manipulated imagery attributed to well-known media outlets are being passed off as exit polls on social media.

The fake polls centre around Andhra Pradesh, where elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly were held simultaneously.

One of the viral posts shows what appears to be a graphic by the digital news portal The News Minute, containing predictions on the outcome of the Assembly election by various organisations. All of them show the NDA leading against the YSRCP by a wide margin.

The Hindu found that the graphic was a manipulated version of one that was published during the 2019 Lok Sabha election. A reverse image search led us to the original article published by the The News Minute on May 19, 2019.

The News Minute had also clarified that the graphic was fake.

Another post predicting a similar outcome attributed the poll to the television channel Times Now.

We could not find any such prediction on the official website or social media handles of the television channel.

Using a reverse image search, we found a similar template used by the channel for an opinion poll in Uttar Pradesh in 2021. The template seems to have been digitally altered to make it look like it pertains to the 2024 Andhra Pradesh elections.

We also noticed a post claiming to show a ‘PTI survey’ of the Andhra Pradesh elections, putting the YSRCP ahead of the NDA.

The myriad spelling mistakes in the graphic were the first giveaway. Further, we could not find any such poll commissioned by the news agency. PTI had also clarified that it was fake.

The Andhra Pradesh elections are being closely watched amid predictions of a tight contest and fears of post-poll violence.

It may be noted that The Election Commission of India had banned exit polls till June 1.

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