Edited screenshot shared as Times Now exit poll predicting TDP win in Andhra Pradesh

By: Ishita Goel
May 18 2024

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Edited screenshot shared as Times Now exit poll predicting TDP win in Andhra Pradesh

A screenshot of a social media post claiming that a Times Now exit poll predicts a win for TDP in the Andhra Pradesh poll. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

As per ECI guidelines, no exit poll results have been released for the 2024 Lok Sabha and concurrent Assembly elections. The screenshot is edited.

Claim ID 2beeb625

What is the claim?

A screenshot, purportedly showing an exit poll by the Indian news channel Times Now, has gone viral on social media. This image predicts a victory for the regional political party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly polls.

On May 13, 2024, Andhra Pradesh held simultaneous elections for 25 parliamentary and 175 Assembly constituencies. Social media users shared the image and captioned it, “Times Now Andhra Pradesh exit poll results are out.” Another user commented, “It’s not Sakshi or TV9. It’s Times Now channel. Andhra Pradesh exit poll.” Archived versions of such posts can be found here, here, and here

Screenshots of the viral posts on social media. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this screenshot is a fabrication. The original image was a screenshot depicting an exit poll published by Times Now during the 2021 Uttar Pradesh elections, which has been altered to create the now-viral image.

What are the facts?

We searched Times Now’s social media accounts (archived links can be viewed here, here, and here) and websites for exit poll results but found no data published for the 2024 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections. 

A reverse image search revealed that Times Now used a similar template (archived here) while publishing the Uttar Pradesh Opinion Poll in 2021. We discovered that a slide from this opinion poll, published by Times Now on November 16, 2021, was manipulated to create the viral image. The original slide was titled “TIMES NOW-Polstrat #UttarPradesh Opinion Poll SEAT SHARE on India Upfront.”

Upon comparing the images, it is evident how the original was edited. The research partner Polstrat was replaced with ETG, and the state name Uttar Pradesh was changed to Andhra Pradesh. The result numbers and parties were also altered to match the context of Andhra Pradesh’s Assembly polls.

Comparison between the viral screenshot and the Times Now image. (Source: X/Times Now/Modified by Logically Facts) 

Predictions by Times Now for Andhra Pradesh

While ETG, a market research and polling agency, is indeed associated (archived here) with Times Now, the news channel only published (archived here) seat share projections for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 in Andhra Pradesh on April 4, 2024. This was a pre-poll survey conducted before the Election Commission of India (ECI) imposed a ban on exit poll results.

On May 7, 2024, ETG (archived here) clarified that “predictions for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections will only be released on June 1, as per the ECI guidelines.”

Logically Facts has previously debunked several such claims regarding counterfeit poll surveys about Andhra Pradesh and various elections across the country.

Exit Poll guidelines according to ECI

According to the ECI (archived here) guidelines released on April 19, 2024, there will be a ban on releasing exit polls from April 19, 7:00 a.m. to June 1, 6:30 p.m. A Press Note released on April 2, 2024, also highlighted Section 126A of the R.P. Act 1951, which prohibits the conduct of an Exit poll and dissemination of its results during the period stated therein.

The verdict

The viral screenshot is a doctored version of an exit poll published by Times Now during the 2021 Uttar Pradesh elections. This edited image has been shared as the 2024 Andhra Pradesh Assembly election's exit poll results.

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