How Accurate Have Exit Polls Been in Last Few Lok Sabha Elections?

In 2004, exit polls got it completely wrong as the Congress-led UPA ousted Vajpayee’s NDA government from power.

Updated20 May 2019, 10:59 AM IST
2 min read

Exit polls must be flooding your TV screens and social media feeds right now, but how accurate have these exit polls been in the last few general elections? Let’s take a look.

But first, here are the results of the 2019 exit polls.

Exit Poll 2019: Here are the results of the exit polls for the 2019 election.
Exit Poll 2019: Here are the results of the exit polls for the 2019 election.
Photo: The Quint)

2004 Exit Polls: When Pollsters Got it Completely Wrong

Exit polls are based on interviews conducted with people after they have cast their vote.

In 2004, the exit polls were completely off the mark as the Congress-led UPA defied all the pollsters to oust the Vajpayee-led NDA government from power.

2009 Exit Polls: Off the Mark Again

In 2009, almost all the exit polls gave the UPA a slim lead over the NDA, but the results proved pollsters wrong once again, with the Congress-led alliance securing a lead of more than 100 seats.

2014 Exit Polls: NDA Win Predicted, But BJP Secures Majority on Its Own

In 2014, all exit polls showed an NDA victory but barring Today’s Chanakya, none of them could correctly predict that the BJP led by Narendra Modi would storm to power with an absolute majority of its own, a feat achieved for the first time since 1984.

As the last three general elections show, exit polls can often be misleading. In 2004, they were completely wrong and in 2009 too, they were off the mark. They did get the trend right in 2014 though, predicting the Congress’ decimation at the hands of a Modi-led BJP.

Will the pollsters get it right in 2019? Well, there’s really no way to know till 23 May!

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Published: 19 May 2019, 11:26 AM IST
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