Reading Comprehension Test for SBI PO Prelims 2017 : Set -4

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Reading Comprehension Test for SBI PO Prelims 2017 : Set -4

Q.(1-12) Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words are given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.

The chaos and cacophony of elections is the surest sign of a vibrant democracy. What role do opinion and exit polls play in this democratic process? A non-partisan debate on this issue must underscore the qualitative difference between opinion polls and exit polls and the differing impact each has on the democratic process. Opinion polls are sample surveys, reporting statistical results of potential future behavior by voters who answer certain questions. An opinion poll is always conducted before a voter has exercised his franchise, usually several days or weeks before voting. It usually asks more than one question. An exit poll is conducted upon a voter who has already voted. It involves no questions and seeks to report how a voter has voted. Keeping this difference in mind, there are several reasons for banning exit polls and an arguable, though weaker, case for banning opinion polls. Democracy is the bedrock of our nation and of the Constitution. A republican secular democratic nation has been held by the apex court to be part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Free and fair elections have also been held judicially to be part of this basic structure.

This means free and fair polls are an unamendable, inalienable feature of our Constitution. In turn, free and fair elections necessitate a level playing field where the contestants and voters are not subjected to unfair external influences which vitiate the process of elections. The Representation of People Act (RPA) and the Model Code of Conduct, along with several other rules, are all designed to ensure this essential fairness in the electoral process.In a multi-phased electoral contest — and the exit polls ban argument is relevant only in multi-phased polls — the exit poll results of a prior poll have a direct impact on the next poll. For example, the present polls are scheduled for April 20, 26, May 5 and 10. An exit poll publication for April 20 suggesting heavy voting for Party A is bound to create an overall ambiance of victory in favor of that party. Such pre declaration of exit poll results often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Party A may have strong support in the April 20 polls but may normally be a miserable loser in all the next three phases. However, an ambiance in its favor qua the April 20 polls may generate a ‘herd instinct’ or ‘bandwagon effect’ amid voters to follow the likely ‘winner’ of the first phase.

This may itself not be pernicious if the April 20 exit poll results reflected the complete reality. But exit poll results are based on fractional samples, generalizing from ‘miniaturized reality’. Since they do not even claim to represent the whole truth, their impact on future polls is bound to distort the electoral process. Vitiation of democracy and violation of the basic structure is a likely consequence. Opinion polls are worse because they generalist not from actual behavior but from presumed and predicted behavior. The fractional size of the sample (e.g. 40,000 in an Indian electorate of 60 core) underlines its inherent inadequacy. Many surveys thrive on much smaller sample sizes! Second, the sample can’t be truly representative, especially in a humongous and heterogeneous society like India. Third, opinion polls are conducted well before the polls and their remoteness in time affects their predictive utility. Several recent polls have quoted widely divergent figures and this reflects their untenability. Nevertheless, they inexorably influence the voter and create an uneven playing field.

 

 

       

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