Difference Between Vote and Poll

More than half of the countries of the world have some form of democracy. The term ‘democracy’ refers to a form of government in which people have all the power.

In this, the people have all the power which is exercised through their elected representatives.

In a democracy, the vote of the people plays an essential part. Thus, it becomes important to know the difference between vote and poll.

Vote vs Poll

The main difference between Vote and Poll is that voting is a formal process of getting people’s opinions on a particular topic. While casting votes, people take an informed decision. On the other hand, a poll is an informal process of getting people’s opinions. People often do not take polling seriously as a result of which poll results can be inaccurate at times.

Vote vs Poll

Vote refers to the process of casting votes during an election. It is a common way of electing the people’s representatives in a democracy.

Using votes to elect representative date back to 754 BC when it was used to elect the mixed government of Sparta. It can also be used in private or public organizations to elect people for a certain post.

Poll refers to a human research survey to extrapolate public opinion on a certain matter from a sample. This sample is representative of the population.

There are various methods to conduct a poll. However, it is impossible to conduct a 100% unbiased poll. Certain biases are inherent in a poll.

Comparison Table Between Vote and Poll

Parameters of ComparisonVotePoll
Kind of information used forA vote is used for detailed and subjective opinionsA poll is usually used for objective and general data
SeriousnessA vote is taken seriouslyPeople involved in a poll do not take it as seriously as a vote
ElectionsIt is based on people’s votes that elections are conductedIt is conducted before a formal vote during the election to estimate the results from a small sample
People involvedIn theory, the entire population voteA poll is conducted from a small sample of the population
CostIn a democracy, conducting a formal vote for various candidatures is more expensive than a pollLess expensive
Accuracy100% accurateThere is a scope of inaccuracy

What is Vote?

A vote refers to a formal show of choice between various courses of action or candidates. This is done through a show of hands or a ballot.

In America, all citizens who are 18 years or above are allowed to cast their votes in an election. However, there were times when the right to vote was a prestigious one and not available to all.

In the 1800s, the States had the power to decide who could cast their votes. As a result, only land-owning white men were allowed to take part in such an important decision.

While this affected other parts of the society such as black people, white women, they did not have a say.

Though now, the United States has been able to tackle this issue with suffrage being open to all, there are still certain countries in which certain sections of the society are not allowed to vote.

For instance, in African American neighborhoods, politicians reduce the number of polling stations to stop certain people from voting.

To allow more and more people to vote, online voting is gaining ground. Today, e-voting is used in some countries such as Mexico to encourage everyone to cast their votes from the comfort of their homes.

What is Poll?

A poll is a kind of inquiry or survey made to quantify people’s opinions about a topic or a range of topics. Polls can be of various types.

The most common type of poll is political polls.

These are generally conducted before an election to predict people’s votes. Three commonly used polls used by political parties and various news channels are:

  • Benchmark polls: Also called baseline poll, it is conducted at the beginning of the political race to understand the public’s wants and sentiments.
  • Brushfire polls: These are used to test a candidate’s popularity during the political race. These help the political parties in deciding which strategy they should employ to win people.
  • Tracking polls: These are conducted regularly till the final day of the election. These help in tracking changes in a candidate’s popularity.
  • Exit polls: This is the poll forecasted on news channels on election day. In this, a sample of people who’ve cast their votes is polled about their choices. These help candidates in formulating election day’s strategy.

Polls are a great way to predict election results. However, they cannot be blindly trusted due to margin of error, nonresponse bias, wording issues, response bias, etc.

Main Differences Between Vote and Poll

  1. While votes are a formal way of knowing the public’s opinions on a matter, polls are an informal way of predicting the public’s opinions.
  2. The voting process is conducted through the ballot, e-voting, traditional show of hands, etc. On the other hand, a poll may be conducted in-person, online, or by phone.
  3. In terms of the election, the vote does not have any margin of error while the poll has a margin of error as it is a prediction made based on a population sample.
  4. In comparison, the vote is more expensive than a poll due to a variety of factors such as the number of people involved, etc.
  5. Vote as a means of democracy had been in place for quite some time while the use of polls to predict results is relatively new.
Difference Between Vote and Poll


At a glance, vote and poll seem similar. However, on closer inspection, one can find a variety of differences between the two. A vote is of utmost importance in a democracy, it can make or break the results of an election.

On the other hand, a poll when conducted and interpreted fairly can help a candidate win an election.

In an organization, to make important decisions, voting should be done instead of polling. This is because people put more thought while casting votes compared to a poll.


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