The election in five states has almost reached its finish line. On December 11, the final result will be declared. But in between, it is the exit polls that create a major buzz in the market. Prior to the actual vote counting, exit polls provide an insight into the expected outcome of the elections and a few talking points for political pundits and parties.
In recent times, Exit polls have become notoriously unreliable in terms of predicting the winner. Taking the example of the state assembly in Uttar Pradesh, where most of the surveys gave below 200 seats to BJP but the fact that BJP grabbed 325 seats, way beyond their speculations.
One reason behind this could be the people’s wariness towards divulging their electoral choices which are supposed to be private. The sample size of the survey is also very small and can’t cope up with the diversity of a colorful nation like ours. Another reason for the unreliability of the exit polls is the media bias which results in highly skewed analysis quite different from the ground realities.
A combination of these factors has resulted in multiple flawed exit polls and these are the five instances where these polls were way off the mark.
Lok Sabha elections 2004: This is one of the most tragic failures of the Exit polls. The then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was too popular to be defeated. They swiped almost a complete majority in states election Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan prior to the Lok Sabha elections. The parliament was dissolved early for re-election by NDA government. The exit polls had then predicted that NDA will secure over 240-250 seats, whereas Congress would get around 180 seats. But when the result came, the numbers were completely opposite to the prediction.
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UP State Election 2017: In the state election of Uttar Pradesh both Congress and Samajwadi Party tied their hands with the ambitious slogan of “UP Ko Ye Sath Pasand Hai”. The exit polls predicted at that time that it would create a massive havoc in Uttar Pradesh. But the final verdict left everyone in shock, including the BJP as it grabbed 325 seats, 265 more seats as compared to 47 in 2012 assembly elections.
Lok Sabha Elections 2014: The election that started The “Modi Era” in Indian politics was also not supposed to be like this if things actually went according to exit polls. Though NDA was a going for a clear victory none had predicted a majority to the BJP. But after the final count, NDA scored a grand victory and BJP alone crossed the majority mark.
Bihar assembly election 2015: The exit polls were showing a neck to neck fight between the then NDA and JDU+RJD+Congress alliance. While the election saw one of the highest turnouts in Bihar (56.8%) since 2000, But JDU + RJD + Congress alliance won with a clear majority leaving BJP and family with only 58 seats. Lalu Prasad’s RJD emerged as the single largest party by bagging 80 seats.
Delhi Assembly Elections 2015: After the AAP’s 49 days Govt. and the anti-incumbency of Congress it was an almost clear mandate that AAP will be the party with the most seats in Delhi elections. Most of the exit polls showed the same picture but what was shocking that not a single survey saw 67 seats coming for AAP, While Leaving BJP on 3 seats only and Congress out of the game in the capital territory.
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Final On Counting
Although exit polls of Rajasthan are showing the clear victory for the Congress with it winning around 90-120 seats and BJP ending up only on 60-90 seats, we can safely conclude that surveys don’t go with the actual count whenever historic victories are taken into account.
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