From exit Polls to final results: How accurate were Madhya Pradesh predictions?
New Delhi, Dec 12: After overnight counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress with its 114 seats emerged as the party with most number of seats in the 230-member assembly. But the party was still two short of majority. The ruling BJP has managed 109 seats, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party got two, Samajwadi Party a single and four seats went to independents.
Last week, polling companies had paired with news channels to put out their exit poll data on the five states. The most visible of these pairs were Republic TV-C-Voter, Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat, Times Now-CNX, ABP News-CSDS, India Today-Axis My India and India TV-CNX.
Most of the exit polls obediently lived up to their reputation of being inaccurate: Let us have a look at it:
Madhya Pradesh was a saving grace for the polling gurus. Acutely aware that it would be a tough call between the two national parties, most polls presented no radical gaps between their BJP and Congress numbers.
Republic TV played it safe by letting one of its exit polls predict a majority for BJP (Jan ki Baat) and the other for the Congress (C Voter). Times Now-CNX proposed a distribution of 126 and 89 seats for the BJP and the Congress respectively, whereas ABP-CSDS predicted the opposite -- 126 for Congress and 94 for the BJP. The India Today-Axis My India exit poll captured the numbers well, putting out an expansive range of 102-120 for the BJP and 104-122 for the INC. The final numbers came out this morning with Congress emerging as the single-largest party (114) and BJP bagging 109 seats.
This was not the first time that the pollsters overshot the mark and backed the wrong horses. In 2015, Assembly election results in Bihar caught most pollsters off guard when a non-BJP coalition swept the state, contrary to their predictions. In Delhi in the same year, AAP secured an absolute majority by winning 67 out of 70 seats -- a bolt out of the blue for many, especially the professional forecasters.