The results for the five state elections have been already announced. The Congress has won the elections in Chattisgarh, while managed to be the single largest party in both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Telangana was secured by the regional party Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), while Mizo National Front (MNF) bagged the North-East state of Mizoram to make Northeast India Congress-mukt.
The most interesting aspect to the build-up of any elections in the country is the phenomenon of exit polls and numerous surveys predicting the outcome of a specific election. The pollsters and psephologists joining hands with media organisations were once again back to action during the elections to five states and had come up with their own numbers.
The exit polls for Rajasthan was far from reality as none of them could predict a close race between the BJP and Congress. In any exit polls, predicting a range is convenient for the pollsters rather than putting up a number. In Rajasthan elections, the Congress secured 99 seats, BJP got 73 seats, BSP secured 6, while independents and smaller parties combined crossed 20 seats.
Interestingly, none of the Exit polls despite taking it into their wide range of predictions did come close to actual results. If we take a median of all the seats projected for Congress it would be around 112 and for BJP it will be around 79. Predicting a range is way too easy for pollsters rather than predicting the exact number. The pollsters have yet again failed to read the tight race between both the parties in the state of Rajasthan where vote share is close as 0.5% resulting in a difference of 26 seats between Congress and the BJP.
Most of the pollsters have come close with their range in predicting the elections in Madhya Pradesh. Though none of them predicted a number or a smaller range, some managed to predict the tough fight between the Congress and BJP, courtesy of anti-incumbency of 15-year rule of Chief Minister of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The CSDS, which has a distinct achievement of predicting most of the elections wrong has once again failed to guess the right number. It has given 126 seats to Congress, but it only got 114 seats.
IndiaToday-Axis were almost close to the election results if we discount the factor of predicting a huge range for both parties rather than providing a more clearer survey with a smaller gap. TimesNow-CNX survey has been proved false too, as they had given a clear majority to BJP.
The prediction of Chattisgarh assembly elections is unique as every pollster apart from IndiaToday-Axis Exit polls had put up terrible numbers. The Congress won 68 seats, while BJP secured just 15 seats. Though IndiaToday-Axis did not predict it completely right but at least they had put forward the mood of voters in the state correctly. Most of the others like ABP News-CSDS, TimesNow-CNX had given a majority to the BJP, while Republic C-Voter had projected a victory for Congress in Chattisgarh but had given fewer numbers of seats for the Congress party.
Pollsters like RepublicTV-Jan Ki Baat had hinted of a hung assembly with 40-48 seats to the BJP and somewhere between 37-42 seats for Congress. Similarly, NewsNation had projected a tight race between the BJP and Congress with a median of 40 and 42 seats respectively.
IndiaToday-Axis polls predicted a closer range for Telangana and their survey were almost near to the election results. It had predicted 79-91 seats for the TRS and around 21-33 seats for Congress. The TRS has secured 88 seats, while Congress got 19 seats. According to IndiaToday-Axis survey, BJP was supposed to get 1-3 seats, while the party scored 1 seat. Apart from them, TV9-Telugu had put up similar numbers of a median of 80 seats for TRS and 30 seats for Congress.
Most of the others got the Telangana polls wrong as they had predicted a close race but the state elections were single-handedly secured by the TRS. Republic-C Voter had predicted a hung assembly in the state with a median of 55 seats to each. Even Republic-Jan Ki Baat had predicted more seats for Congress against just 21 seats secured by the party.
Mizoram, the one of the North-East to go to the polls has been tough to predict because of various reasons like logistic issues, dynamic nature of elections, the ‘tyranny of distance’ that Delhi based ‘national’ media houses feel for the region. Few pollsters tried to guess the numbers but failed to predict it right. TimesNow-CNX and Republic-C Voter had predicted 16-18 seats to Congress and 18-20 seats to MNF, while IndiaToday-Axis had predicted a victory for MNF and had projected 8-12 seats to Congress. Though IndiaToday-Axis survey was right in projecting MNF victory but erred in its numbers for Congress. In the actual results, MNF won 26 seats while Congress got only 5. None of the exit polls correctly predicted the huge defeat of the Congress party. Interestingly, all the exit polls predicted 0 for BJP, but the party was actually able to 1 seat in the state.
It may be noted that most of the pollsters, psephologists have gone wrong in understanding the nature of elections in states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh due to its huge electoral dynamics and caste calculations. These surveys can just be an indicator of the overall mood of the people in the state, otherwise, it should be taken with a pinch of salt.