Editorial

Exit polls miss target

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/11/2020 1:11:53 PM IST

 Springing a shock on exit polls, a majority of who had predicted a clear win for the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance(GA) with Tejashwi Yadav as the next chief minister of Bihar, the alliance eventually lost out in a close contest that went down to the wire, and which was decided by wafer-thin margins in some constituencies. The numerical see-saw presented by the Bihar election results through the day was not just hard on political parties and their supporters but also on psephologists who were wondering how they could have, yet again, gotten things as wrong as they did. The National Democratic Alliance(NDA), comprising the JD (U), the BJP, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), and Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahani’s Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), won a wafer-thin majority of 125 - three more than the halfway mark of 122 in the 243-member Bihar assembly – leaving the GA at 110 seats as the latter alleged electoral malpractices. The BJP, which has been largely playing a second fiddle to the JD (U), has shown a marked improvement and has won 74 seats, as compared to 53 in 2015. Smarting under Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan’s (37) anti-Kumar poll pitch, the JD(U) slipped to 43 from 71 in 2015. For the Mahagathbandhan, the Congress won only 19 of the 70 seats it contested. While BJP performed a stellar role in NDA’s victory winning 72 of the 110 seats contested; RJD also gave a spectacular performance by bagging 75 of 144 seats it contested to emerge as the single largest party in the 243-member Bihar legislative assembly. However, Congress failed to contribute to the alliance when it could win only 19 of the 70 seats it contested. The obvious question is what went wrong with the exit polls, given the fact that pollsters have been right with almost all predictions? According to media analysis, the first factor was the timing of concluding the survey before the National Democratic Alliance began really picking up momentum after the first phase. The second was underrepresentation of women in exit polls, who, in the end, voted overwhelmingly for the NDA. The third factor was identified as the presence of a huge silent majority, unrepresented in exit polls, who actually voted in large numbers for the NDA. The other factors which led to error was that while BJP and RJD performed well, alliance partners JD(U) and Congress did not. For NDA the JDU fared poorly winning only 43 of the 115 seats it contested. As predicted, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen(AIMIM) indeed cost the GA seats. The AIMIM won five seats at the expense of the RJD (2), Congress (2) and JD(U) (1). Anecdotal reports suggest AIMIM may have cost the Mahagathbandhan parties more seats where it came third or fourth, by cutting into their votes. Similarly, Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, which fought alone on 135 seats, won just one, taking a seat from the JD(U). The LJP reportedly cost JD(U) even more. Pollsters have to revisit their methodology in order to ensure more realistic projections. Post mortem of where things went wrong with the exit polls also reveal that the surveys measured vote share and then used an algorithm to convert this into seats, with the conversion usually being the cause of erroneous projections. Allegations of rigging and EVM tampering fly thick and fast and when the margin was so thin, these matter.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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