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How far can exit polls prove to be true this time?

By IndianMandarins- 20 May 2019


The wide and definite edge given in all the exit polls to the BJP and NDA can only be because of a single factor. And it can be nothing else but the possibility that the charisma often associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have worked well. Yet, this has been confined to the North or its vast and significant parts alone. In the South with the sole exception of Karnataka this has failed for the BJP and its allies like AIADMK as spectacularly as it is projected to have succeeded in the Northern States, or the Hindi belt, by the exit polls.


The two States where various exit polls findings differ and, thus, face a test of sorts are Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Most of the exit polls show that in both the State BJP is going to do better than what was expected. Yet, because of the alliance of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh BJP faces a formidable challenge and, thus, ABP News’ exit polls has given over 50 seats to the alliance and the BJP only 22 out of a total of 80 seats whereas other sample polls keep BJP far ahead of its rivals in UP. So in any case NDA is not going to get as many as 73 seats which was the case in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.


Unlike UP where electioneering has generally been peaceful West Bengal came to a virtual edge through the polls because of intermittent violent incidents through a long and bitter campaign. And amid this, pollsters are giving upto one-third or 14 seats out of a total of 42 constituencies in the State. If this turns out to be so, it would indeed belie the popularity of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who vehemently fought against the new saffron entrants in the contest through most of the State’s constituencies.


The other States where exit polls this time appear to be out of sync from the results of last Assembly polls held only five months ago are Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. All the three provinces were won by Congress only in December last year. Yet, one of the exit polls has given Congress only one Lok Sabha seat out of 29. Asked about this a long time scribe based in Bhopal said this could not be so and, thus, it may be guided by the BJP’s sway over social media besides the high decibel BJP campaign. Congress voters have mostly been silent unlike highly vocal BJP advocates and sympathisers, he points out.


Like Madhya Pradesh BJP is also ahead with its ally Shiv Sena as per the exit polls in Maharashtra against Congress-NCP alliance. This is also thought to be highly debatable by old time watchers of the State. As per them Congress and NCP may do better than what has been made out to be the case, courtesy exit polls.


Thus, besides parties, or contestants, pollsters and psephologists too face a test this time as actual results are awaited and which will be out only on May 23 when votes are counted. This is more so since as late as in December pollsters were quite off the mark in case of Chhattisgarh Assembly polls where actual results belied the projections made by poll surveyors.

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