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If 2014 trend of underestimating right-wing voteshare in exit polls holds, the BJP could very well be looking at 300 seats

The CVoter has predicted the NDA to win 287 seats with the UPA winning 128 and the Gathbandhan to win 40. Similarly, Jan Ki Baat predicts the NDA to win 305 seats, the UPA 124 and the Mahagathbandhan only 26.

The Exit Polls for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections are finally out. While the BJP was expected to perform well in the elections, at least CVoter and Jan Ki Baat have predicted the BJP to return again with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister for his second term.

The CVoter has predicted the NDA to win 287 seats with the UPA winning 128 and the Gathbandhan to win 40. Similarly, Jan Ki Baat predicts the NDA to win 305 seats, the UPA 124 and the Mahagathbandhan only 26.

Even NDTV, with its perennial anti-BJP slant, is predicting the NDA to win 296 seats. Times Now, too, expects the NDA to win 306 votes. Most significantly, however, Today’s Chanakya has predicted the BJP to win 291 +/- 14 seats. The NDA is predicted to secure 340 +/- 14 seats.

Thus, a pattern is emerging here where the NDA seems assured of a great victory. However, there’s good reason for us to suspect that the margin of victory for the BJP may be quite higher.

In 2014 as well, while most had predicted the BJP to emerge as the single largest party, none apart from Today’s Chanakya had predicted the utter rout of the Congress and the UPA and a single party majority in the Lower House of the Parliament. The same pattern was observed in the UP Elections in 2017, while most had expected the BJP to win, no one could predict the 300+ tally it managed to secure.

2014 Exit poll results

Thus, we clearly see that in 2014, too, the pollsters severely underestimated the BJP with the sole exception of Today’s Chanakya. Therefore, we have good reasons to doubt that they have underestimated them again.

Moreover, there has been a global trend of underestimating right-wing vote-share as the European Union referendum in 2016, the US Presidential Elections the same year and the Australian Federal Elections only yesterday have amply demonstrated. The reasons are numerous, however, the trend of constantly underestimating right-wing vote-share in highly charged elections cannot be ignored.

Therefore, if this trend holds, there’s a good reason to believe that the BJP may well cross its 2014 tally and might even hit the 300 mark as Prime Minister Modi, Amit Shah and the BJP have constantly maintained. And it is only natural for pollsters to make conservative predictions.

The BJP could make great gains in West Bengal and Odisha without losing too many in Uttar Pradesh. While most pollsters expect the BJP to win around 70 seats from Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, with some expecting under 60, it could very well be the case that the BJP manages to win 80 seats combined which will be more than what it won from these two states in 2014. And this is without counting Odisha where the BJP won only one seat in 2014 but is expected to make major gains this time around.

Today’s Chanakya, the only poll which managed to predict BJP’s 2014 tally correctly, says that 300 is very much on the cards for the BJP alone. Therefore, we could well be looking at a landslide victory for the BJP that is even greater than in 2014.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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