Exit poll results: How accurate were election surveys during the 2011 Assembly polls?

The voting is over and now, only the results are left.

After the elections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala got over on Monday, exit polls announced their predictions about which party was coming to power in each of the four states and the union territory, whose results will be declared on Thursday.

As we wait for the results to come out, here is a look at whether the 2011 election surveys had predicted the outcomes of the previous elections in the states and union territory accurately:

West Bengal

2016: Four exit polls have predicted the same thing: Mamata Banerjee’s TMC will retain power in the state. ETV, NewsNation, Chanakya and ABP-Nielsen are all sure that it will be Mamata again. Chanakya even predicted that the Trinamool Congress will win between 210 and 224 seats while the Left-Congress alliance will gain only 70 to 79 seats and the BJP between 14 and 19 seats.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

2011: Election surveys by television channels had given a unanimous clean sweep for TMC in West Bengal, predicting the end of the Communist rule. Polls conducted during the polling in the states by Headlines Today-ORG, CNN-IBN-The Week-CSDS and Star Ananda-Nielsen had given a two-thirds majority to the Trinamool Congress-Congress combine in the 294-seat West Bengal assembly, according to IANS.

The surveys were extremely accurate as the TMC-Congress alliance secured 227 seats in the 294-seat Assembly in the results, winning more than 77 percent of the seats.


2016: Three exit polls have stated that BJP will win Assam and end Tarun Gogoi’s 15-year chief ministership. Axis-India Today predicted BJP will win 79-93 seats, ABP-Nielsen gave BJP 81 seats and NewsX-Chanakya gave BJP 90 seats.

2011: Exit poll surveys had predicted a historic third term for the Congress led by Gogoi, according to this 2011 Livemint report. The CNN-IBN survey had said that Gogoi was going to return as CM with a tally of 64 to 72 seats, The Hindu had reported. However, the Mail Today-India Today-Headlines Today-Aaj Tak-ORG opinion poll had predicted a hung Assembly in Assam, with Congress winning just 46 seats.

Tarun Gogoi indeed returned to power for the third time in Assam as the Congress won 78 seats in the 126-seat Assembly. Thus, while some of the surveys had been accurate in predicting a Congress victory, some wrongly predicted a hung Assembly.

Tamil Nadu

2016: Exit polls are divided over the results of this state. NewsNation and the Axis-My India exit polls predict that the DMK will win the state, thereby ending the reign of Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK. However, C-Voter claims that Amma’s party will retain power in the state.

2011: The surveys again differed on the outcome in Tamil Nadu polls. The CNN-IBN-CSDS survey had "projected an edge" for the AIADMK-led alliance in the 2011 polls, according to The Hindu report. Another 2011 report in The Times of India had said that the CVoter exit poll was the only one to suggest that the J Jayalalithaa-led alliance will get a decisive mandate and win between 168 and 176 seats. The report added that the ORG poll for Headlines Today had predicted a slim majority for the DMK.

The AIADMK-led alliance won a staggering number of 203 seats in the 234-seat Assembly. The surveys did not turn out to be very accurate for Tamil Nadu as the CVoter exit poll was the only one which got close to the decisive mandate which Jayalalithaa got.


2016: The Axis-India Today and India TV-C-Voter exit polls both predict that the CPM-led LDF will come to power in the state, thereby toppling the Congress-led UDF. The BJP could get zero to three seats while one to four seats may go to others.

2011: The CNN-IBN-The Week-CSDS polls said LDF could win between 69 and 77 seats and the UDF between 63 and 71 seats out of the 140 seats in the Kerala assembly. The Headlines Today-ORG polls, on the other hand, said UDF would win between 85 and 92 seats against LDF's tally of 48 to 55 seats. The CVoter polls also gave a clear edge to the UDF. Another poll done by Asianet-C-Fore projected the UDF winning between 72 and 82 seats, according to TOI.

Except for the CSDS poll survey, the surveys were quite accurate when it came to Kerala. The Congress-led UDF won 73 seats in the Assembly, thus ensuring victory by a slim margin.


2016: Exit polls have predicted victory for the DMK-Congress alliance in Puducherry, ousting the ruling All India NR Congress.

2011: The election surveys had been silent on the outcome in the 2011 Puducherry polls, according to TOI. The All India NR Congress had won 15 seats from the total of 30 seats in the union territory.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 18, 2016 15:57 PM

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