Mar 5, 2012

The Most Unscientific Exit Poll Ever

As soon as the clock struck five on Saturday evening, all leading channels of the country embarked on a self-serving exercise of 'predicting' which party would come out victor in the assembly elections across 5 Indian states. Obviously, Uttar Pradesh got the biggest share of the pie while tiny Manipur was predictably ignored and isolated. I don't know what study and research goes behind these exercises but these exit polls have proved incorrect on most of the occasions, except when the outcomes were very much obvious. How can we forget the surprising results of 2004 general elections, when Congress romped home to majority, putting all pollsters and experts to shame. Exit polls have been proved wrong in States like Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where Mayawati and Jayalalitha secured full majority, despite not being touted to do so. So, I would not be surprised, and in fact would be very delighted, if the electorates triumph over the exit polls yet again.

I have my reasons to not believe these exit polls-
  • No channel/ media house comes out with the methodologies and sample size used in assessing the mood of the voters
  • There is no guarantee that the voter opens all his/her cards when approached by a research team. In fact, some sections of the voters in UP are famous or rather notorious for not 'announcing' their votes till the last moment. And these sections of the society generally vote in mass for a particular candidate or party, when the polling takes place
  • All the exit polls are heavily influenced by caste considerations and religious realty on the ground. What percent of Jatavs will vote for BSP or what percent of Baniyas have moved away from the BJP? These calculations are primarily based on some per-conceived notions that a certain caste or religion votes for a certain party. In today's time, when awareness, angst and anxiety amongst the voters is at its peak, it is very unwise to divide them in such watertight compartments. After all, at least some of the Muslims of Gujarat have voted for Narendra Modi all these years!
  • And most importantly, Indian society is so diversified and fragmented that it is a near impossible task to accurately project the mood of the voters
It is precisely for these reasons that I am not a big fan of these exit polls. However, I must admit these projections do add the much-needed 'entertainment' quotient to the elections. '100 Hours of Non-Stop coverage' and other such catchy and emotive slogans by the channels ensure that the viewers are glued to their TV sets well before the results are actually announced. A brigade of analysts and experts debate over something that is still concealed in the future's womb! This, indeed, makes us madly fall in love with the biggest festival of Indian democracy.

So, why not let's have our own little exit poll just a few hours before the results are declared. Of course, I have not traveled to any of these states nor have I conducted any research on the mood of the electorates. But again, we do not who all (if any) have actually done it! Let's take it more as a 'prediction' exercise. After all, we the Indians, have always bet our lives on result of cricket matches or fate of a Bollywood film. Let's give elections a shot, this time around! (No pun intended)

U.P.- I do not see Samajwadi Party securing a thumping majority in UP elections. Yes, SP should emerge as the single largest party, but Congress should not do as bad as projected by most of the exit polls.

My Prediction for UP- (total seats 404)
  • SP- 150-160
  • BSP- 110-120
  • BJP- 80-90
  • Congress-RLD- 65-75 
UP is clearly heading for a hung house. I will bet my money on a SP-Congress govt or the President's rule for the state.

Uttarakhand-(total seats 70)
  • BJP- 35-40
  • Congress- 25-35
A tough call to make. But I will bet my money on BJP to cross the magic mark of 35 ahead of the Congress.

Punjab- (total seats 117)
  • Congress- 50-60
  • BJP-SAD- 40-50
  • PPP- 0-5
Yet another tight finish, but I hope Congress to upstage SAD-BJP combine. Punjab has never voted for an incumbent government.

Manipur- (total seats 60)
  • Congress- 30-35
  • PDF-20-25
  • TMC-10-15
Congress should retain power in Manipur. but, the ambitious PDF coalition may not fare as poorly as projected by exit polls.

Goa- (total seats 40)
  • BJP- 20-30
  • Congress-10-20
So, you have yet another exit poll to reflect upon. Obviously, it is the most unscientific exit poll ever but I am sure, it is not devoid of the entertainment value. And anyways, by tomorrow we all will know who got it right and who did not!

P.S.- The projections are solely on the basis of writer's own political understanding. The projection of seats for 'others' has been deliberately avoided as the writer finds them (others) very boring.


  1. I adored that caricature stuff in b/w..

    I should have read and commented here on the day you posted this note.. my bad.. as then writing/assuming anything would have been fun.. I tried following the UP-polls happening but anyways..

  2. great post..Thanks and please keep posting