According to the latest CSDS survey on the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Assembly elections to be held later this year, the Congress leads the BJP in the two states by a healthy margin. In Madhya Pradesh, Congress has a lead of 15 percentage points while in Rajasthan, it has a lead of 5 points over the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The survey has given the detractors of the BJP something to cheer about.
That is news if MP going Rajasthan way…. https://t.co/JBleHcV3Jy
— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) May 24, 2018
However, the track record of the CSDS has been sketchy at best. The agency’s pre-polls got it wrong big time in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Karnataka while its survey for Uttarakhand was pretty accurate but in Gujarat, the agency underestimated the BJP’s vote-share by a healthy margin.
In Punjab, the pre-polls conducted in December 2016, two months before the Assembly Elections in February 2017, the agency gave the BJP-SAD alliance the advantage by a vote-share of 34%-31% over the Congress. When results were finally out, the Congress had secured 38.5% votes while the SAD+ alliance managed only 25.2% of the vote-share. However, it appears that the agency did manage to recover some sort of respectability for their predictions by predicting Congress to be the single largest party by January with 51 seats, which is still woefully off target from the 77 that Congress won eventually.
In Bihar, a pre-poll survey conducted by the CSDS in the month of September for elections that began on the 12th of October gave the BJP and its alliance partners a 4-point lead over the Mahagathbandhan with the expected vote-share being 42% and 38% respectively. However, the Mahagathbandhan gave the BJP a sound thrashing by securing a vote share of 41.9% while BJP+ managed only 34.1% of the votes.
In Uttar Pradesh, the agency got it wrong even more spectacularly. The CSDS predicted in its pre-poll 192 seats for the Rahul-Akhilesh alliance while giving the BJP and its alliance partners only 123 in an election. The saffron party won over 300 seats and the Congress was reduced to 7.
Even in Karnataka, CSDS’ pre-poll predicted Congress to emerge as the single largest party with 92-102 seats for the Congress and 79-89 seats for the BJP. However, according to final results, the BJP won 104 seats while the Congress managed only 78.
In its Uttarakhand pre-poll survey conducted in December, although the agency correctly predicted the BJP to win the elections with a 40% vote-share, it underestimated BJP’s vote-share by a significant margin as the saffron party secured over 46% of the votes.
In Gujarat, its final round of pre-poll surveys for the state pegged the BJP at 43%, tied with the Congress in terms of vote-share. However, the BJP secured a vote-share of over 49% according to final results.
Thus, the track record of the CSDS indicates that its current pre-poll surveys in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are most likely to be inaccurate. In this report, we have ignored assembly election results of other states as the agency had either not conducted any pre-poll results or the Congress and the BJP were not significant contenders for the formation of the government.