How Accurate Are Exit Polls? Evaluating Predictions from Previous Lok Sabha Elections

How Accurate Are Exit Polls? Evaluating Predictions from Previous Lok Sabha Elections

With exit polls intensifying public anticipation, it is intriguing to assess the accuracy of TV channels' exit polls in previous Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi- With the conclusion of the final seventh phase of elections for 57 Lok Sabha seats on June 1, the nation has entered a period of intense speculation.

As mainstream media channels broadcast their exit polls, both citizens and political leaders are on edge, eagerly anticipating the official results. All eyes are set on June 4, when the fate of the world's largest democracy will be revealed, determining who will be the next Prime Minister of India.

As the final phase of voting concludes, speculation is at an all-time high. Exit polls on TV channels suggest that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is set to form the government for a third consecutive term, while the INDIA alliance (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) is expected to face defeat. With exit polls intensifying public anticipation, it is intriguing to assess the accuracy of TV channels' exit polls in previous Lok Sabha elections.

Notably, various agencies forecasting this year's exit polls have predicted a third-term victory for the BJP-led NDA. However, a look back at the predictions from 2014 and 2019 reveals significant deviations between the projections and the actual results, despite the NDA's victory under Narendra Modi's leadership.

Similarly, in 2009, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) secured a victory that was markedly different from what the exit polls had predicted.

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In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which were held between April 7 and May 12, the results were announced on May 16.

Similarly, in 2019, the elections took place from April 11 to May 19, with the results declared on May 23.

In both instances, while most agencies accurately predicted an NDA victory, they failed to accurately gauge the extent of the win.

For the 2014 elections, an average of eight surveys predicted that the BJP-led NDA would secure 283 seats, and the Congress-led UPA would get 105 seats.

However, these agencies underestimated the "Modi wave," with the NDA ultimately winning 336 seats and the UPA securing only 60 seats. Of these, the BJP won 282 seats, while the Congress managed just 44.

In 2019, the average of 13 surveys projected the NDA would win 306 seats, with the UPA expected to secure 120 seats. Once again, the NDA's performance was underestimated, as they clinched a total of 353 seats, while the UPA managed only 93 seats. Of these, the BJP secured 303 seats, and the Congress won 52.

In 2009, when the UPA returned to power, the deviation from predictions was also notable. The average of several surveys significantly underestimated the UPA’s victory margin, highlighting a recurring trend where exit polls often fail to fully capture the dynamics at play in Indian elections.

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