Come the last day of voting in every election, the trolling of exit polls that occurs seems as inevitable as the exit polls themselves. And sure, they often do get them wrong. But this time, for the five states that went to polls over February and March 2022, the exit polls seem to have hit the mark, by and large.
Let's take a look at how close the exit polls came to the actual UP results. Here is what the exit polls had predicted.
While Times Now-Veto forecast 225 seats to the BJP, India Today-Axis My India pegged it higher with a range from 288 to 326.
At 8:35 pm on Counting Day, the BJP alliance was close to the Axis My India prediction, with leads/wins in 274 seats while the SP alliance was at 124.
If Axis My India's tally for the BJP began at around 14 more than BJP's actual tally by 8 pm on Counting Day, the ABP News-CVoter and Zee News-DesignBoxed polls pegged BJP slightly lower with from 228-244 and 223-248 respectively.
Not only did a majority of the exit polls get the decision right in UP, their ranges were also not too far off the mark.
Punjab Exit Polls: Unanimous in Predicting AAP Victory Correctly
At 8:50 pm on Counting Day, the Aam Aadmi Party was at 92 leads/wins, Congress at 18, the Shiromani Akali Dal-led alliance at a mere 4 seats, and BJP+ at 2.
All the exit polls had unanimously predicted an AAP victory, and they did get it right.
Today's Chanakya's prediction of AAP winning 100 seats with a give-and-take range of 7 seats, was actually closest to the actual results. Axis My India had also predicted a fairly accurate range for AAP, pegging them between 76 and 90 seats. AAP overshot Axis My India's prediction, but not my much. ABP News-CVoter and Zee News-DesignBoxed were further off the target. Despite predicting an AAP victory, they estimated that Kejriwal, Mann and co. would get between 51 and 61 seats.
Uttarakhand Exit Polls: Split Verdict Among Exit Polls, Only Big Inaccuracy This Time
On Uttarakhand, the exit polls were divided. Of the five exit polls listed above, three predicted a BJP victory and two predicted that Congress would be ahead instead.
On Counting Day, the state showed that it had decisively voted in favour of the BJP. At 9:05 pm on 10 March, the BJP had leads/wins in 47 seats, with the Congress at a distant second with 19 leads/wins.
The contest wasn't a close one, unlike what the exit polls had predicted.
Manipur Exit Polls: Spot On
The Zee News-Designboxed exit poll predicted that the BJP could return to power in Manipur, with the party likely to win 33-37 seats in the Assembly elections. The Congress tally was pegged at 12-17 seats, as per the DesignBoxed exit poll.
The India Today-Axis My India survey too predicted that the BJP would win 33-43 seats, while Congress could win 4-8 seats.
The exit polls were fairly spot on, with the BJP tally at 9:10 pm on Counting Day at 32 seats, and the party fairly certain of forming the government again.
Goa Exit Polls Made It Seem Hung Assembly Would Be Likely, Results So Far Suggest Otherwise
The five exit polls mentioned above made it seem like Goa would be too close to call and would most likely end up being a hung Assembly situation in which the BJP and the Congress would try to shore up allies in the hope of forming the next government.
But that seems an unlikely scenario at 9:14 pm on Counting Day, with the BJP at 20 seats, at exactly the halfway mark in the 40-member Assembly and one short of a simple majority.
The ranges predicted by the exit polls did suggest that the election would not be a one-sided affair though, and to that extent, the results did bear out. But some polls, like Axis My India and DesignBoxed, pegged Congress absolutely neck and neck with the BJP. The results, though, show quite a difference between the two parties. At 9:14 pm, the two parties were 8 seats apart, quite a significant difference in an Assembly of 40.
On the whole though, and especially on the two big states of UP and Punjab, the exit polls did get the decision unanimously correct and this round of the perennial debate on whether exit polls end up being accurate has gone to the pollsters.