State Assembly Elections exit poll: How accurate are exit polls?

Exit polls provide just a rough idea of voters’ mood and basic step to predict results of election.

Created On: Apr 29, 2021 20:47 ISTModified On: Apr 29, 2021 20:47 IST

How accurate are exit polls? Exit polls are voter's view recorded after they have cast their vote. The polls are conducted just after voter walks out of polling booth.

Hence, the accuracy of exit polls always remain a subject of uncertainty. The exit polls provide just a rough idea of voters’ mood and basic step to predict results of elections.

There have been times when exit polls have been very accurate and also times, when they have gone completely wrong with their predictions. 

When exit polls went wrong

•    About four Lok Sabha elections 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2014 witnessed inaccurate predictions of exit polls.
•    When BJP led Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government collapsed most of the exit polls overrated NDA win with more than 315 seats while they won just 296 seats.
•    In 2009 exit polls UPA won 206 seats while most of the exit polls were predicts more than 300 seats. However, BJP bagged more than expected 116 seats.

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Exit polls in 2014 elections

•    Exit polls of year 2014 were predicting Modi government but they were predicting win for BJP-led NDA.
•    The closest poll predicted 291 seats for BJP and 340 for NDA. And, when results declared it was clear triumph for BJP with 282 seats while NDA got 336 seats and total 543 in Lok Sabha.
•    However, the exit polls failed in predicting the numbers for the Congress-led UPA. Except one pollster, all suggested the UPA to win 97 to 135 seats in the Lok Sabha election. But the coalition could win only 59 with the Congress getting only 44 seats.

Big failure in year 2004

It was the time when “India Shining” was famous all around.  Most of the exit polls were predicting a return of the Vajpayee government. However, the results turned the expectations upside-down because NDA could not cross the 200 mark. Another side, Congress led coalition won 222 seats and formed a government with support of left, BSP and SP.

Exit Polls: Background

The Indian media started election surveys and exit polls in mid 1980s. It was the first time when private media started exit poll in the country.

After that, Public broadcaster Doordarshan commissioned exit polls in year 1996, which were conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

Also Read: Lok Sabha Exit Poll: Role of exit polls in India's election result prediction

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections Exit Poll: What are exit polls? How are they calculated?

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