While exit polls were unanimous in predicting a clean sweep for the DMK in Tamil Nadu, Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala, BJP in Assam and Pudducherry, pollsters were divided on West Bengal, with predicting a close race between the TMC and BJP.
West Bengal heads for photo finish
Out of all the four elections, it is West Bengal that is headed for a photo finish. The Axis My India poll predicts a neck to neck results for TMC and BJP. The TMC it predicts could get anywhere between 130-156 seats, the BJP 134-160 seats while the Left-Congress alliance could draw a complete blank or in best case scenario win two seats. People’s Pulse that did the polls for India TV predicted a clearer victory for the BJP with 173-192 seats and TMC trailing at 64-88 seats. The third poll to predict a similar trend is Jan Ki Baat, giving BJP 162-185 seats and the TMC at 104-121 seats. The BJP had only three seats in the 2016 assembly elections in the state.
The Republic TV-CNX polls also predict very close margins between the two, with BJP at 138-148 and TMC at 128-138.
While, the other polls are giving edge to the TMC, they all uniformly predict that the BJP will hold on to the gains it made during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats here. The C-Voter has predicted 152-164 seats for TMC, with BJP at 109-121 seats. P Marq pollsters claim TMC will be at 152-172 while BJP at 112-132.
BJP ahead in Assam
In Assam, the exit polls clearly predict BJP ahead, with the Congress close on heels. The C-voter predicts 71-58 seats for BJP, Congress 53-66 and 0-5 seats for others. Axis My India polls predict a margin between BJP and Congress far bigger with the BJP at 75-85, Congress at 40-50 and others 1-4, Jan Ki Baat also had similar predictions with 70-80 for BJP, 45-55 for Congress and 0-1 for others. Today’s Chanakya says BJP could be at 70, Congress at 56 and the others could bag upto three seats. For the BJP, the real political tussle will begin post the results with Himanta Biswa Sarma, having played the supporting role for five years now eyeing the Chief Minister’s chair.
Emphatic comeback for DMK
In Tamil Nadu, all exit polls are pointing at one direction — an emphatic comeback of the DMK bringing M K Stalin, heir of Karunanidhi in Chief Minister’s seat. The Axis My India polls have predicted the biggest margins between DMK standing at 175-195 seats adn the AIADMK trailing far behind with 58-68 seats. The C-Voter says DMK will be at 160-172 seats, while AIADMK at 58-70 and TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhgam (AMMK) at 0-4. Echoing similar results CNX polls says 160-170 seats for DMK, 58-68 for AIADMK and 4-6 for AMMK. There were only two polls that give any shot to Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM). P Marq says 1-3 seats for MNM and Axis My India has given them 0-2 seats.
Return of Pinarayi Vijayan
In Kerala, again, there is no confusion in the exit polls with all predicting Pinarayi Vijayan government’s return to power. This will be the first time since 1977 that the same government is returning in Kerala. Axis My India has predicted a near annihilation of Congress. As per them, the LDF will get 104-120 seats with Congress shrinking down to 20-36 seats. If their predictions hold on May 2nd, it will be a big hit for the brand Rahul Gandhi, who spent the longest time here as compared to the other states. The other polls – P Marq, C-Voter and Republic-CNX all predict the LDF in the range of 70-80 and Congress led UDF around 50-66 seats.
In Puducherry, the C-voter has predicted BJP led NDA win in 19-23 seats unseating the current Chief Minister V Narayansamy. The Congress will get only 6-10. The others they say will get 1-2 seats.
What are exit polls?
The exit polls are post-vote polls, which are conducted after voters have cast their votes. The polls aim to predict the final result on the basis of the information collected from the voters after they walk out of the polling booth. Unlike an opinion poll, which asks the voter whom they plan to vote for, the exit poll asks the voter whom they actually voted for.
Who conducts the exit polls?
The polls are conducted by private firms and media organizations such as Today’s Chanakya, ABP-Cvoter, News18, India Today-Axis, Times Now-CNX, NewsX-Neta, Republic-Jan Ki Baat, Republic-CVoter, ABP-CSDS and Chintamani.
How are they conducted?
Most of the agencies carry out exit polls through the method of random sampling. Some also opt for systematic sampling to predict the actual result. The agencies ask people from different age groups, gender, caste, religion and region whom they voted for.
While exit polls largely predict the outcome of the entire election, region or constituency specific exit polls are also released.
How are the exit polls calculated?
The firms conducting the exit polls usually ask voters who they voted for and on the basis of that, they make their final result prediction. The prediction is solely based on the fact that the voters have given correct answers.
When are exit polls released?
The exit polls are only allowed to be published or broadcasted half an hour after the conclusion of the last phase of polling. The polls are released after approval from the Election Commission of India.
Why is there a restriction on the publishing of exit polls?
The Election Commission, exercising its powers stated under Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 prohibits the release of exit polls before the conclusion of polling, in order to safeguard democracy.
According to the Election Commission, publishing the prediction of the actual result before the conclusion of polling may possibly influence the minds of electors.
What does Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 state?
The section states that no person shall conduct any exit poll and publish or publicise by means of the print or electronic media, the result of any exit poll during such period. In case of a general election, the period may commence from the beginning of the hours fixed for the poll on the first day of poll and continue till half an hour after closing of the poll in all the states and union territories.
The section also prescribes that any person, who contravenes the provisions of this section, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
Source: The Hindu and Jagran Josh