Indicating a close contest, most of the election surveys for Karnataka assembly elections 2018 have predicted a hung assembly with neither Congress nor BJP getting to the majority mark of 112 seats. The polls suggest that HD Deve Gowda-led JD(S) will emerge as the kingmaker. Only two surveys, Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat and ABP-C Voter, predicted that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party by bagging 104 and 104-116 seats respectively in the 224-member House. Today Chanakya predicted BJP as the clear winner. Reacting to the survey outcomes, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah termed them as medium of entertainment for the next two days.
Whether exit poll predictions come true? Most of the surveys have gone horribly wrong in recent elections. Here’s a look at five exit polls in the past:
Uttar Pradesh, 2017
Uttar Pradesh Assembly election last year was perhaps the biggest one in terms of significance in recent times. While all the surveys predicted Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party as the single largest party, no one was able to predict the humongous victory it got in the elections. A poll of exit polls by CNN-News18 and data science company Gramener suggested the state was headed towards a hung Assembly. It predicted the BJP and its allies getting 193 seats, Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance winning 133 seats, and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party settling down with 67 seats.
Only two survey agencies – India Today-My Axis and Today’s Chanakya – had predicted massive wins for BJP. While India-today and Axis My India predicted between 251-279 seats, Chanakya gave BJP 285 seats. However, BJP+ came to power with a brute of 324 seats in the elections, the SP won only 44, and BSP was decimated to 19 seats.
Almost all exit polls for recently concluded Gujarat Elections predicted a majority for the BJP. However, they could not calculate the correct margin. Most of the surveys gave the BJP a comfortable majority with predictions of party getting close to 120 seats. This time, Today’s Chanakya got its prediction horribly wrong, with a prediction of 135 seats for the saffron party. However, contrary to all surveys, BJP fell one short of 100 seats. The Congress put up tough fight and was able to win 80 seats.
In Punjab, no exit poll predicted that Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party will be crushed by Amarinder Singh-led Congress. Some of the agencies, like India TV-CVoter, went on to predict that AAP will form a government with 59-67 seats. Others suggested a neck and neck contest between AAP and BJP. When the results were announced, AAP could only manage to get 20 seats, while Congress formed government with 75 seats.
Bihar Assembly elections, 2015
The 2015 Assembly elections were fought between a grand alliance (RJD-JDU-Congress) and Bharatiya Janata Party+. The ABP-Nielsen survey had predicted that the ‘grand alliance’ of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav would get 130 seats, while BJP and allies were expected to get 108 seats. However, when the results were announced, none of the exit polls stood close to the actual numbers. Times Now and C-Voter gave 122 seats to the ‘grand alliance’. In a surprise to all, the grand alliance got a landslide victory with 178 seats.
Delhi Assembly elections, 2015
Delhi Assembly elections 2015 was the one which sent all the poll pundits scratching their heads. Interestingly, Aam Aadmi Party’s in-house survey, led by known psephologist Yegendra Yadav, too got it wrong. While everyone predicted a victory for AAP, no one could predict a brute majority it got, i.e 67 seats in 70-member assembly. C-voter and ABP-Nielsen gave AAP 35 – 43 seats. While India Today and Cicero gave it 38 – 46 seats. AAP’s in-house survey had predicted 51 seats for the party.