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With NDA Predicted To Win 2019 General Elections, Know All About Exit Polls

Exit Polls India BJP NDA

For the longest-running elections in the history of the country that went on for more than a month and ended on May 19,  exit polls projected a thumping victory for ruling NDA.

Majority of the exit polls predicted the BJP-led NDA government will return to power with a landslide victory, quashing the dreams of the ‘Mahagatbandhan’ and the Congress party. Several exit polls including News18/IPSOS, India Today/Axis, Times Now/VMR, Republic TV/JKB, and News24 predicted that the current government will win at least 300 seats or more seats, out of the total 542.

What Are Exit Polls?

Exit polls are polls or surveys of voters exiting polling station after casting their votes. The voters are asked who they voted for. Unlike opinion polls that ask voters whom they plan to vote, this exercise aims to predict the actual result based on the information gathered from the voters.

Exit polls are not new. The first exit poll was conducted by the Indian Institute of Public Opinion after the second Lok Sabha general elections that took place in 1957. Back then, the mood of the country was estimated with a sample size of around 20,000- 30,000. It was difficult to understand the state of mind of crores of Indians with such a low sample survey, but lack of technology and inconvenient mode of transport stymied surveyors to widen the sample sizes.

The situation has now drastically changed. The sample size today is in lakhs, to render a much more accurate result.

Are Exit Polls Reliable?

Exit polls are essential, as they try to give a sneak peek of who will form the government.

In the recent past, exit polls have proved to be globally unreliable.

The biggest exit poll blunder was in the 2004 General Elections, which left psephologists and electorate confused alike. A majority of the exit polls suggested that BJP-led NDA government will come to power with a significant majority. Outlook/MDRA, Aaj Tak-ORG MARG, NDTV/ Indian Express, Star/ C Voter, all projected that Atalbihari Vajpayee led government will come back to power with more than 250 seats. However, the election results were a shocker and the Congress-led UPA government won 222 seats.

In 2009, the exit polls predicted a cut-throat competition between the NDA and the UPA. This prediction too was far from the result, as the Congress-led UPA government won 262 seats, whereas the NDA were restricted to 159 seats only.

Exit polls have not only turned out to be a let down in India but also abroad. For instance, in the US election of 2016, majority exit polls predicted a win for Democratic party’s Hilary Clinton. The result was astoundingly in favour of Donald Trump of the Republic party, who became the 45th US president.

Question is – with its latest prediction for India, will exit polls vindicate itself? One will have to wait for May 23 for the answer.

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