As the 2019 Lok Sabha elections draw to a close, enthusiasts are now waiting for the exit polls with bated breath. However, some familiar suspects have upped the ante to discredit the exit polls even before they had started to trickle in. One such attempt is made by the Print editor Shekhar Gupta through his tweets forewarning his followers to bear in mind how all exit polls have been defied in Australia and a conservative coalition had won the elections there.
Health Warning: When you sit down to watch the exit polls on Sunday evening, please keep at the back of your minds probably the rudest shock delivered to psephology by Australian voters. Conservative coalition wins, defying scores, in fact all of opinion and exit polls.
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) May 18, 2019
Another controversial journalist Rana Ayyub seemed to concur with Shekhar’s assessment that traditional coalitions have the potential to defy the exit polls. Such tweets from Shekhar and Rana also indicate that they have already resigned to the fact that most of the exit polls will predict Modi victory against the opposition alliance.
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) May 19, 2019
While there’s no guarantee that all the exit polls will be accurate all the time, but may help in ascertaining the larger trend. Exit polls are conducted to detect in advance the pulse of the nation. They are carried out to establish the general trend and identify the pattern or ideology espoused by the voters to forecast election victory with greater certainty.
In the case of Australia, the ideologically left-leaning Labour party was predicted by all exit polls to sweep the elections. However, the conservative Prime Minister ended up seizing a stunning victory. Though his victory has defied the exit polls, many journalists like Shekhar fail to notice forest for the trees. In opposition to the exit polls, the Conservatives may have registered a victory, but the more telling fact is that they have successfully defeated the Left ideology of the Labour party. It is rather disingenuous of journalists to run down the exit polls without factoring in the other aspects that have a profound impact on the results.
Across the world, the left has been rapidly ceding its political space to the conservativist oppositions. Left-leaning journalists and intellectuals world over have persistently refused to acknowledge the obvious undertones implying the rise of their ideological opponents. There are examples galore how the people around the world, disenchanted by the hollow liberal principles have switched the sides against the left. Japan, India, US and now Australia have seen a rise of anti-leftist government in their respective political space. Even after the US elections, the liberals couldn’t bring themselves to the fact that a Republican, much less Donald Trump has won their presidential elections.
Shekhar and Rana can seek solace in the fact that exit polls were defied in Australia, but to their dismay, the opposition alliance in the Indian context is ideologically close to Left-Liberalism and the leftists. Moreover, the purported opposition alliance is fragmented and the parties forming the opposition alliance are fraught with insecurities. In such a gloomy scenario, it might as well be wishful thinking that the opposition alliance which reflects a left-liberal ideology and with untrustworthy parties would be able to defy the exit polls.