A row is looming over the release of exit poll results before the close of voting in Sunday's Legislative Council election, despite pollster Robert Chung Ting-yiu's assertion that his survey for broadcasters will be leak-proof. Dr Chung's public opinion programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong will conduct the biggest exit poll. Pan-democratic groups will hold a joint news conference today to remind voters they can refuse to talk to exit pollsters. The Electoral Affairs Commission said it had received seven applications to conduct exit polls. Democratic Party vice-chairman Sin Chung-kai said the fairness of the election could be undermined if certain people obtained exit poll data while others did not. Independent Anson Chan Fang On-sang, who is not seeking re-election, said: 'Voters had better ignore all exit poll interviews. Do not believe rumours which cite exit poll results saying whoever is in a critical situation.' At the last election, a 'situation critical' message diverted votes to Democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming and cost fellow pan-democrat Cyd Ho Sau-lan re-election. Mr Sin and Mrs Chan criticised the Electoral Affairs Commission for failing to amend guidelines to prevent the abuse of exit polls. Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, also expressed fears that poll data could be leaked. Responding to candidates' concerns that leaks could affect the election results, Dr Chung insisted the scenario was unlikely. He has been carrying out exit polls since 1991, and said there had never been a leak of data from within media organisations sponsoring the polls. He said the pan-democrats' stance was worrying and would make polling unprofessional. Five broadcasters are sponsoring the POP exit polls on Sunday. This year, for the first time, they will be told at 12.30pm, 5pm and 9.30pm which candidates have more chance of being elected and which have less chance. Only after voting ends at 10.30pm will they get figures for each candidate's support. Peter Kwan Wai, senior vice-president for news and public affairs at ATV, one of the sponsors, said it had not requested the pollster make new arrangements. 'When we joined the project this year, we just thought the results would be provided to us at night like in past elections,' he said. Asked if the contracts signed with sponsors required them not to disclose findings to candidates, Dr Chung said: 'We keep reminding them to study carefully the election rules.' The Electoral Affairs Commission reminded the media and any organisations conducting exit polls that they should not announce the results before the close of polling since that might affect results. Spokesmen for RTHK, Cable TV, ATV and Now TV said they would comply with election guidelines and would not release any data from the exit polls until after voting ends. Spokesmen for TVB could not be reached for comment by last night. The public opinion programme's interviewers will collect information from electors at 120 polling stations.