Lok Sabha election: Exit polls predict comfortable win for BJP-led NDA, but Opposition points to poor record of pollsters abroad

The exit polls that began soon after the massive exercise of the Lok Sabha election wrapped up on Sunday, were watched with bated breath by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, the Congress-led Opposition, and the electorate. Towards the end, the outcome was clear as most pollsters predicted a comfortable win for the BJP and its allies, with some surveys projecting that the ruling coalition will cross the 300 seat-mark.

While members of the ruling government could barely contain the anticipation of being re-elected, the Congress and other Opposition leaders tried to highlight that the exit polls are usually only a broad snapshot of a likely outcome and are not set in stone. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was the first to dismiss the exit poll predictions, terming it as "gossip". "I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together," she tweeted.

 Lok Sabha election: Exit polls predict comfortable win for BJP-led NDA, but Opposition points to poor record of pollsters abroad

Representational image. Reuters

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, however, pointed to the elections in Australia last weekend to back his claim of the exit polls being "all wrong", when "Fifty-six exit polls were proved wrong".

Strike rate of exit polls abroad 

Australia's ruling Conservative Coalition led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday made a "miraculous" comeback in the general election, defying exit polls and demolishing the opposition Labor Party, forcing its leader Bill Shorten to step down.

A Nine-Galaxy poll released shortly before the voting stations closed in Australia showed a victory for the Labor party and Liberal Party-led coalition losing its bid for a third three-year term. The poll showed the Labor winning as many as 82 seats, beating the ruling Coalition. On Friday, media reports had also endorsed Labour leader Shorten as the best chance to end a "cycle of instability" in Australian politics.

Another poll, the Newspoll survey predicted that Labor would swing the votes in its favour, but also said that the leader approval rating favoured Morrison, with 45 percent saying he would make a better prime minister as compared to Shorten.

A similar situation about the accuracy of exit polls was analysed by The Guardian in the United Kingdoms, and the reports said that the agencies had consistently gotten the predictions wrong until the 2005 election.

Vox reported on the 2018 US mid-term elections and said,"Exit polling can be a tricky business, though, and not necessarily reflective of how elections will turn out — some early exit polls in 2016 pointed to a victory for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, for example."

In the 2015 Israel General Election, the pollsters' predictions were  off by several seats, saying that Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party would lose to the opposition Zionist Union led by Isaac Herzog by four seats. However, Netanyahu went ahead to secure a fourth term as Israel's prime minister.

With inputs from agencies


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Updated Date: May 20, 2019 14:18:05 IST