Bihar Election 2020: How earlier exit polls predicted Bihar
Within half an hour of the conclusion of voting, the focus shifts to exit polls, which aim to predict the final result of an election. The difference between an exit poll and an opinion poll lies in the timing when the voters are questioned. In opinion polls, voters are asked whom they are planning to vote, while exit polls are post-voting polls, assuring more perfect predictions that narrow down to the exact number of seats that the contesting parties are likely to win. But they often go wrong, sometimes terribly wrong.
Bihar Exit poll 2015
In 2015, the contest was between BJP-led NDA minus JD(U). JD(U) was part of Mahagathbandhan, which also included the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress. Most exit polls predicted that NDA would get somewhere between 100 and 127 seats, a little higher than Mahagathbandhan, but it didn’t indicate any majority. In the final results, however, Mahagathbandhan won with comfortable majority.
In 2015, three exit polls -- NewsX-CNX, ABP-Nielsen and News Nation -- had predicted advantage Nitish Kumar but with a slender margin. Times Now- C Voter said a photo finish was likely with an edge for the Kumar-led Grand Alliance. India Today-Cicero forecast a hung assembly with the BJP ahead. News 24-Today’s Chanakya said the BJP-led coalition was headed for a comfortable victory with 155 seats.
Today’s Chanakya had explained the miscalculation and attributed it to human error.
“A simple computer template coding marking the alliances got interchanged at our end. Due to this our seat numbers remained the same but respective alliances got interchanged,” it had said.
A similar situation of exit poll going wrong took place in the same year in Delhi assembly elections. AAP was projected to win marginally, but when results were announced, AAP got a thumping victory.
Voting for the third phase of election in Bihar will conclude at 6pm and the embargo on exit polls will be lifted at 6.30pm following which several television channels will release their exit poll findings. Exit polls are allowed to be released only after half an hour of the conclusion of the last phase of polling as the Election Commission of India prohibits the release of these findings any sooner as they might tamper with the process.