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5 Times Exit Poll Predictions Proved Wrong In India

By: Pinki Mon, 20 May 2019 3:28 PM

5 times exit poll predictions proved wrong in India

Sunday, May 19, was the last day of voting in the Lok Sabha elections 2019, bringing the curtains down on the world’s largest exercise of democracy after over five weeks of polling.

All eyes are set on May 23 when the results of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 will be declared. Before that, there will be numerous exit polls predicting the fate of candidates who took part in the fray. Exit polls are already out and most exit polls forecast a majority for the ruling BJP-led NDA in Lok Sabha polls with varying numbers after the seven-phase polling in the general elections. If exit polls are to be believed, the Narendra Modi government is coming back to power with full majority. But it’s not that exit polls have always been accurate. There have been several instances in the past when exit polls were way off the mark.

2004 Lok Sabha elections: In 2004, every exit poll gave a majority to the Atal Bihari Vajyapee-led NDA government but the actual result surprised everyone. Riding on the triple victories in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan state elections, Atal Bihari Vajpayee government dissolved the Parliament early, hoping for re-election. The exit polls then had predicted BJP-led NDA would secure over 240 to 250 seats. But when the actual results came, the numbers were completely opposite and the Congress and its allies got 216 seats against a projection ranging from 170 to 205. BJP just managed to get 187 seats against the projections of over 240 to 250 seats.

2014 Lok Sabha Elections: Though most exit polls had predicted a victory for BJP-led NDA, but none had predicted a majority to the BJP. They predicted BJP’s win would be just short of the majority mark of 272. However, when the actual result came the NDA scored a major victory with tally well above 300 and BJP alone crossing the majority mark. Congress conceded heavy defeat and was reduced to just 44 seats.

UP Assembly Elections 2017: Just months after demonetisation, ruling Samajwadi party and Congress had stitched an alliance to beat the Modi juggernaut in the most-populous state. All exit poll results had predicted a hung assembly in Uttar Pradesh, with BJP emerging as the largest party. However, all the exit polls proved wrong and the BJP surprised everyone by winning over 300 seats, which was way above what exit polls had predicted. The saffron party got 265 seats more in 2017 compared to 47 in 2012.

Bihar assembly election 2015: The year 2015 also saw elections for the Bihar state assembly. The contest here was between the BJP and a ‘grand alliance’ (mahagathbandhan) formed by arch-rivals Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. Congress was the third pillar of this grand alliance. This election saw highest voter turnout in Bihar assembly polls since 2000, with a 56.8% voter turnout. Most exit polls predicted a mixed picture with no clear majority to any alliance. However, in the actual result, the RJD-JDU-Congress scored a thumping victory with Lalu Prasad’s RJD emerging as the single largest party.

Delhi Assembly Elections 2015: Delhi was a test for PM Modi’s one-year rule, AAP’s strength in the national capital and a measure to check how much the Congress had weakened after ruling the city-state for 15 years at a stretch. Most of the exit polls had predicted that AAP will win the election and just cross the halfway mark in the 70-member assembly. With Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) thumping 67 seat victory in the 70-member Delhi assembly, the exit polls were yet again off the mark as none of them predicted such a “tsunami” verdict.

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