4 Big Trends from 2 Exit Polls That May Come True on Results Day
It’s not easy to decide which exit poll to trust and which one to take with a pinch of salt. One clear test of the reliability of exit polls is if the agency has released state-wise vote share figures or not. It is from these vote share figures that seat predictions are made. Therefore they are a far more fundamental part of any exit poll and much less prone to errors than seat predictions.
Only two polls have prominently displayed state-wise vote share figures: CVoter’s exit poll and Lokniti-CSDS’ post-poll survey. Most of the other polls haven’t cared to make their vote share predictions public. So purely from a methodological point of view, these polls need to be taken more seriously than others, irrespective of how close they are to the final results.
Let’s take a look at the state-wise vote share by CSDS and CVoter. The differences and similarities in the two polls are both important.
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Broadly, the differences between the two polls are:
- CSDS predicts a higher vote share for the NDA in Eastern states like Assam (10 percentage points higher), Bihar (6 points higher), Odisha (12 points higher) and West Bengal (5 points higher) as well as in Maharashtra in the West (10 points higher), compared to CVoter.
- On the other hand, CVoter gives NDA a higher vote share in Madhya Pradesh (8 percentage points higher), Rajasthan (8 points higher) and Karnataka (3 points higher), compared to CSDS.
- Qualitatively, the CSDS survey seems to indicate that the NDA’s gains nationally are largely at the expense of regional parties like Biju Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress and the Congress is holding its ground.
- On the other hand, CVoter’s estimate is that while NDA might be gaining in states like Odisha and West Bengal, regional parties are more resilient in resisting the NDA than the Congress, which has proven weak in states like MP, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
There are a few trends that are common across both the polls and these could reflect even in the final results to some extent.
- The vote share predictions for Uttar Pradesh are almost identical: NDA at 44 percent and Mahagathbandhan at 41-42 percent. This would indicate an almost even split of seats, perhaps with a slight edge to the Mahagathbandhan only because the BJP is likely to win urban seats with higher margins and lose several seats to the SP-BSP-RLD alliance with small margins. This UP vote share figures also indicate that both the NDA and the Mahagathbandhan are broadly where they were in 2014 and there hasn’t been any major swing.
- The mood in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana seems to be decisively against the NDA. The alliance could draw a blank in all the states except Tamil Nadu, where it may win a few seats. The Modi factor doesn’t seem to be working in these states at all.
- Delhi seems to be heading towards yet another 7-0 sweep for the BJP, with the Opposition votes splitting almost vertically between Congress and Aam Aadmi Party. Interestingly, both the polls predict that Congress could get more votes than AAP. A similar trend is visible in Haryana, where the BJP on the verge of a near complete sweep.
- Both surveys predict NDA gaining in Odisha and West Bengal and dominating the two-way contest states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat. This will possibly extend to states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as well. But the extent to which it is happening is different between the two surveys.