Stratified sampling and Exit poll accuracy – By Dr. Bobby Srinivasan and Dr. Sudhakar Balachandran

The following were the predictions about parliamentary seats by the major television channels referred to as exit polls

Channel Predicted – UPA seats Actual – Congress seats
India TV 101 44
ABP News 97 44
Times Now 148 44
CNN 92-102 44
Aaj Tak 110-120 44


What a dismal job! What went wrong?

Possibilities are:

1)      The sample size was not adequate

2)      The participants did not tell the truth

3)      The method of sampling was very biased

4)      The sample may have been a convenient sample

5)      Was the stratification of the population correct? Like for example how did they break up the population to select the sample?

  1. Male and Female
  2. Young and Old
  3. Rich and Poor
  4. Urban and Rural

The following lessons are learnt from the exit polls.

1. The poll predicted correctly the leadership shift but not size of victory.

2. In a closely contested election exit poll could have predicted victory to a wrong party.

What were the reasons for the congress downfall? It could be:

I.            Immature and arrogant leadership

II.            Corruptions and scams

III.            Inflation rate (84% over the last 10 years)

IV.            Policy paralysis

V.            Ineffective Prime Minister

VI.            Party not responding anybody’s interest except their self interest

VII.            Top leaders like Mr. Chidambaram decided not to run for the election

Finally, as and when the true scorecard of UPA is revealed it will become quite clear that all their policies helped only a small portion of the society and left the poor and middle class deep in the gutter. It is amazing as to how confident they remained till the end. Reformed, they can try again 5 years from now. It is currently the job of NDA to fulfill the promises. The question is, can they? Not an easy task because they need to clean up the mess created by the UPA before the direction can be reversed. But we should bear in mind that the Congress received 19.3% of the total polled votes as against 31% for the BJP, which is not a major difference.

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