Most exit polls suggest strong NDA victory against regional powers in key states – but pollsters might have misjudged the public sentiment.
- Most exit polls have suggested strong victories for BJP against regional powers in key states.
- But number of seats predicted for regional heavyweights varies considerably across exit polls.
- Most predictions imply very low anti-incumbency mapped due to a marginal 0.7% increase in total turnout from 2014.
- With neither a very strong Modi wave nor a significantly visible anti-incumbency sentiment, the mood of voters has been hard to gauge.
With the seven phases through of an eventful 2019 election season, it is time to observe the trends of polling to predict results. Exit polls are out on an election which was filled with MCC violations, unethical and disgraceful mudslinging by rival politicians on each other, multiple cases of poll booth malpractices and substantial instances of violence.
Psephologists have opined that 2019 is one of the most unpredictable elections in India’s history. With neither a very strong Modi wave nor a significantly visible anti-incumbency sentiment, the mood of voters has been hard to gauge.
The effects are clear with the exit polls which have considerably varied predictions.
Most exit polls have suggested strong victories for BJP against regional powers in key states. But others give respectable numbers to some of the regional parties. But with varying numbers, it might be the evident flaw in 2019 exit polls.
We take a look at six such states where the election results might make the
political trajectory turn the on its head.
Bringing 80 Sabha seats, Uttar Pradesh forms the road to government in Indian politics. While NDA won 73 out of the 80 seats in 2014.
|Uttar Pradesh – 80 Seats||BJP+||Congress+||SP-BSP|
|Times Now – VMR||58||2||20|
|India Today – Axis||62-68||1-2||10-16|
|Republic – Cvoter||38||2||40|
|News18 – IPSOS||60-62||2||17-19|
|Today’s Chanakya – News 24||65||2||13|
|ABP – Nielsen||22||2||56|
But in 2019 a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ of UP’s heavyweights SP and BSP, with amicable prospects of alliance with Congress is up against BJP’s sweeping victory last time.
The projections in UP vary widely across different agencies. Most pollsters give BJP a strong edge in UP apart from C-Voter which predicts SP-BSP will outshine BJP marginally.
BJP is likely to lose a large number of seats due to 1) consolidation of Muslim, Yadav, and Jatav (Dalit) votes, 2) combined impact of endeared leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati; and 3) high anti-incumbency observed against Adityanath government.
In 2014, BJP secured 30% votes share by winning 22 seats out of 40. In an alliance vs alliance fight, overcoming RJD, Congress, RLSP, HAM and VIP alliance is a tough ask for the JDU, BJP and LJP alliance.
|Bihar – 40 Seats||BJP+||Congress+||Others|
|Times Now – VMR||30||10||0|
|India Today – Axis||38-40||0-2||0|
|Republic – Cvoter||33||7||0|
|News18 – IPSOS||34-36||4-6||0|
|Today’s Chanakya – News 24||32||8||0|
|ABP – Nielsen||34||6||0|
However, in most of the exit polls, NDA leads with an average gain of 30 to 33 seats, leaving behind only 7 to 10 seats for UPA.
BJP alliance stands to miss out on a large number of seats due to 1) Due to consolidation of caste votes -Muslim, Yadav, Nishad, Kushwaha, and Mushrar votes will go to the Congress cadre, 2) Tejashwi Yadav is an emerging youth icon and popular among the young voters, and 3) Anti- incumbency faced by the Nitish Kumar government.
MP witnesses a straight two- way fight between BJP and Congress. BJP is observed to have the upper hand in the central state.
|Madhya Pradesh – 29 States||BJP+||Congress+||Others|
|Times Now – VMR||24||5||0|
|India Today – Axis||26-28||1-3||0|
|Republic – Cvoter||24||5||0|
|News18 – IPSOS||27||2||0|
|ABP – CSDS||24||5||0|
But Congress’s victory in the last assembly elections due to anti- incumbency against Shivraj Singh Chouhan has brought about a more level playing field for Congress in the state.
Exit polls have opined that NDA is likely to secure an average of 24 to 26 seats in the state.
BJP is likely to have a comfortable win in MP due to anti- incumbency sentiment shifting from BJP and consolidation of upper caste votes (Bania, Brahmin and Rajput) in favour of BJP.
But factors like emergence of parties like SPAKAS and JAYAS, farmer distress and issue like SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act might spill bad luck on BJP’s vote share in the state.
With 48 parliamentary constituencies, Maharashtra might be the land of reckoning for both NDA and UPA. The state currently is in the midst of an alliance vs alliance fight this election.
|Maharashtra – 48 Seats||BJP+||Congress+||Others|
|Times Now – VMR||38||10||0|
|India Today – Axis||38-42||6-10||0|
|Republic – Cvoter||34||14||0|
|News18 – IPSOS||42-44||4-6||0|
|Today’s Chanakya – News 24||38||10||0|
|ABP – Nielsen||34||14||0|
Here, BJP -Shiv Sena might have an upper hand over NCP – Congress. But the alliance is not likely to retain the number of 41 seats which it bagged in 2014.
What might impact BJP’s victory in the seat? Issues like farmer distress, GST, demonetization and unemployment. Ten constituencies of Marathwada and drought-ridden Vidarbha are facing an agrarian crisis riddled with farmer suicides and unemployment.
Increasing dissatisfaction from the slow relief work in the area is likely to affect NDA’s numbers in Maharashtra.
In 2019, West Bengal is a burning pyre with the Trinamool Congress and the BJP engaged in a fierce battle in the state.
Exit poll projections predict that the BJP will make significant gains on the 42 seats in the state. Most poll has given both Trinamool and the BJP equal number of seats. But numbers are increasingly varied.
BJP is playing on the migrant problem in the state and guaranteeing a solution through an exodus of illegal immigrants. But it would be foolery to not take Mamata’s legendary status in the state seriously.
TMC won 34 seats and the BJP won 2 in 2014. A solid gain in West Bengal is necessary for BJP’s eventual ambitions.
Lastly, the biggest surprise of 2019 exit polls in the lack of respect shown to Odisha’s regional behemoth – Naveen Patnaik-led BJD. Most exit polls opine that the BJP will make the biggest gains in Odisha, where PM Modi has campaign extensively.
|Odisha – 21 Seats||BJP+||Congress+||Others (BJD)|
|Times Now – VMR||12||8||1|
|India Today – Axis||15-19||0-1||2-6|
|Republic – Cvoter||10||11||0|
|News18 – IPSOS||12-14||6-8||1-2|
|Today’s Chanakya – News 24||14||7||0|
|ABP – Nielsen||10||9||2|
What’s surprising is the exit polls giving a meagre 0-2 seats to BJD in the state, in spite of the undoubtable influence of the party in Odisha
Psephologists predict that BJP will surpass the BJD’s tally in 2019 where it won 20 out of the 21 seats in 2014.
Overcoming Naveen Patnaik’s image in the non-hindi speaking state is a tough ask for BJP and the majority predicted across exit polls is highly unlikely.
A recap of 2014? Maybe a recap of the tighter contest from 1996
In 1996, India witnessed perhaps one of the most engaging and unpredictable contests that transitioned into a time where the country saw three Prime Ministerial changes in quick succession.
It would be overexaggerating that this election could be as tight a contest, but probably the biggest opposition push against an incumbent government in recent history, the new government is unlikely to come with a majority as exit polls predict.
Instead, it would be safe to expect a stronger opposition and a second-term for Modi government, albeit with reduced majority and influence in the parliament. A big factor is the predictions has been only a marginally stronger turnout at 67.11% from the 66.40% in 2014.
However, with exit polls unconvincing in their gauging the sentiments in these six key states correctly, the one or more of these will play a crucial wave in deciding the coalition that forms government in 2019.
- 2019 saw a strong and united push by the opposition against the incumbent government, the effect underwhelms as per exit polls.
- Only a slightly bigger voter turnout than 2014 factors in exit polls not observing high anti-incumbency against the NDA government.
- Exit polls might have misjudged the impact of regional party effect and coalition in key states like UP, West Bengal, MP, and Odisha.
- Modi might still be the front runner for the top office, but BJP sweeping these six states (as per exit polls) is unlikely.