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Will Exit Polls Get it Right In Karnataka? A Look at Their Track Record

In Karnataka, six exit polls have predicted the BJP to become the single largest party while five have given the lead to the Congress in the exit polls.


Updated:May 12, 2018, 9:30 PM IST
Will Exit Polls Get it Right In Karnataka? A Look at Their Track Record
Several opinion polls have predicted a hung assembly in Karnataka. (Illustration by Mir Suhail)

New Delhi: Most exit polls are predicting that Karnataka is heading towards a hung assembly with both the Congress and the BJP failing to get a clear majority. The exit polls are also divided about which out of the two – BJP and the Congress – would be the single largest party.

But how often have exit polls in India predicted the verdict correctly? A look at the four major state elections – Gujarat, Punjab, UP and Bihar – show that exit polls can get the numbers wrong sometimes too.

Gujarat, 2018

Exit polls conducted by various agencies after the recent assembly elections in Gujarat were unanimous in their conclusion that the BJP would win the elections with a comfortable majority, but none of them could predict the margins correctly.

Today’s Chanakya got its prediction horribly wrong, giving the BJP 135 seats. Times Now VMR exit poll gave 115 seats to the BJP and 65 to the Congress, while the Republic-C Voter exit poll and the News 18-C Voter exit poll gave 108 seats to the BJP and 74 to the Congress.

Contrary to all the exit polls, BJP fell one short of 100 seats, 16 seats lower than what the party had got in 2012 elections. But it was enough to form the government in the 182 seat Assembly. The Congress had given up a better than expected fight with 80 seats to its name.

Punjab, 2017

None of the exit polls could predict the crushing defeat of the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab. Most of the polls predicted a tight race between the Congress and the AAP, and they all got it wrong.

India TV-CVoter exit poll had predicted that AAP would form a government by winning 59 to 67 of the 117 assembly seats in Punjab.

News 24-Chanakya and NewsX-MRC predicted the Congress and the AAP to go neck-to-neck. The India Today-Axis exit polls gave 62-71 seats to the Congress and 42-51 to AAP. ABP-CSDS had given Congress a lead in Punjab and had predicted that AAP would be the runners up.

However, when the results were announced, AAP won only 20 seats.

Uttar Pradesh, 2017

All the exit poll projections for Uttar Pradesh were of a comeback by the BJP. While the BJP did come to power, most of them were not able to predict the humongous BJP victory and the complete annihilation of the SP-Congress combo.

ABP-CSDS and India TV-CVoter had predicted that the BJP would emerge as the single largest party, but both of them said that the saffron party will fall short of forming a majority in the state.

The only closest exit poll was News24-Today’s Chanakya, which predicted a sweeping victory for the BJP, with a seat share of 267-303. The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance followed, with a seat share of 73-103 and Bahujan Samaj Party was pegged to get 15-39 seats in its exit polls.

When the verdict was announced, the BJP registered an astounding victory in the state winning 324 seats in the 403-member state Assembly pushing the SP-Congress alliance and the BSP to distant second and third positions.

Bihar, 2015

The results of the October-November 2015 Assembly election here were hugely awaited.

The ABP-Nielsen poll had predicted that the 'grand alliance' of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav would get 130 seats and the BJP and allies would get 108. Times Now along with C-Voter gave 122 seats to the 'grand alliance' and 111 to the BJP and allies.

Yet, when the results were announced none of the exit polls came nearly as close to the actual verdict. The grand alliance got a landslide victory getting 178 seats.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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