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Why 2019 Exit Polls Are Hard to Believe: They Indicate That Voters Don’t Care About Jobs, Rural Distress

The India Today-Axis poll suggested that NDA would return with a thumping majority and bag 339-365 seats.

The ADR Voters’ survey conducted between October-December 2018, Almost 3,00,000 lakh people were asked about the issues that are most important to them, and the Narendra Modi-led government’s performance on the same. Employment emerged as the top priority, and Modi govt’s performance — below average. Same was the case for other issues that were among the top 10 priorities — healthcare facilities, drinking water availability, agricultural loan availability, availability of water for farming etc. In some states, agriculture-related issues emerged much higher on the voters’ priorities. But one thing was consistent — the voters’ view of Modi govt’s performance being below average.

However, if exit polls are to be believed, it appears that voters do not care as much about the unemployment rate being at a 45-year high, rural distress and other such issues. Which is what makes the 2019 Exit Polls hard to believe.

With the seven-phase Lok Sabha 2019 polls concluding on Sunday, May 19, all the exit polls projected that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would get a clear majority. While ABP-Nielsen projected that the BJP-led NDA would cross the halfway mark and bag 277 seats, the India Today-Axis poll suggested that NDA would return with a thumping majority and bag 339-365 seats.

Republic TV-CVoter suggested that the BJP-led alliance would win 287 seats, Congress-led alliance would win 128 seats, and others would manage 127 seats. Republic-Jan Ki Baat predicted NDA winning 305 seats, UPA winning 124 seats and others, 103 seats. As per News Nation, NDA is set to win 282-290 seats, UPA, 118-126 seats and others, 130-138. Times Now-VMR projected that the BJP-led alliance would bag 306 seats, the Congress-led coalition would win 132 seats, and others would bag 104 seats. CNN News 18-IPSOS suggested an NDA win of 336, while UPA mustering up 82 seats and others winning 124 seats. And News 24- Chanakya indicated that the NDA could call 350 seats their own.

All the pollsters have predicted that the NDA would fail to make a mark in southern states, except for Karnataka. The ABP-Nielsen exit poll suggested that BJP would be unable to maintain its grip over Uttar Pradesh.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor cited the example of elections in Australia to underline that he believed “exit polls are all wrong”. In a tweet, he wrote, “In India, many people don’t tell pollsters the truth fearing they might be from the Government.”

Reacting to the exit polls, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said that she doesn’t “trust exit poll gossip”.

Speaking to NDTV, senior Trinamool leader Chandan Mitra said, “In my opinion, there is no way BJP can make a gain (in Bengal) of this nature.”

Most of the exit polls are predicting double digits for the saffron party in the Trinamool bastion. Currently, the BJP has two MPs in the Lower House from West Bengal.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Manu Sundaram told NDTV that Tamil Nadu had rejected the BJP’s Hindutva politics. “At best BJP is winning 20 out of about 120 odd seats in the southern five states. The policy of BJP has been Hindi, Hindutva which has been rejected by Tamil Nadu,” he said.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah suggested that he would “switch off TV” and “log out of social media” after seeing the polls.

Defending the Opposition strategy, political analyst Amitabh Dubey mentioned that the Opposition had “picked up issues” and “ran with them” during the campaign.

West Bengal

ABP-Nielsen projected 24 seats for the TMC, Times–VMR gave it 28 seats, and C Voter awarded the party 29 seats. News18’s IPSOS predicted 25-28 seats for the TMC. Republic-Jan ki Baat, however, said that the party would win only 17 seats.

ABP-Nielsen projected 16 seats for the BJP, with Times-VMR and C Voter both predicting 11 seats. News18’s IPSOS predicted that the BJP would get three to seven seats. Republic-Jan ki Baat, on the other hand, predicted a massive gain for the BJP — 22 seats.

While most polls predicted Congress to hang in the state with just two seats, Republic-Jan ki Baat gave it a minor upgrade of three seats. News18’s IPSOS said it would win a maximum of one seat.

Also read: West Bengal: Exit Polls Predict BJP Gaining Ground Despite TMC Taking A Lead In The State

Uttar Pradesh

Times Now-C Voter had predicted that the BJP and its alliance partners would win 38 seats in the northern state and the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance (Mahagatbandhan) would win 40 seats; the Congress, only two seats. ABP Nielsen predicted the SP-BSP-RLD combine winning 56 seats, BJP 22, and Congress winning two seats.

India Today Axis My India Exit Poll suggested that the BJP could win anywhere between 62 and 68 seats in Uttar Pradesh. News18 IPSOS projected that the BJP and its allies would get between 60 and 62. They also said that the SP-BSP-RLD would bag between 17 and 19 seats, and Congress would get only one or two seats. NDTV’s poll of polls had predicted that BJP and its allies would win 46 seats, and the SP-BSP-RLD alliance will win 31 seats, while the Congress party was projected to get only three in its kitty.

As per Anthro.Ai, the BSP, SP and RLD are likely to win 54 seats in the northern state. Further, they predicted that the Congress party might win four seats in Uttar Pradesh.


India Today-Axis predicted that the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) would win just two to six seats in the easter state, while the BJP would get 15-19 seats and the Congress remaining limited one seat at the most. Similarly, Times-Now VMR has given the BJP 12 seats, the BJD eight and the Congress just one seat.

Republic C-Voter, however, projected 11 seats for the BJD, 10 for the BJP, and none for the Congress. ABP-Nielsen gave 12 seats to the BJD and nine to the BJP.

Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan

The Congress party which formed governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan are unlikely to be able to translate their Assembly poll victories into a Lok Sabha win, all exit polls suggested.

As per Today’s Chanakya, the Congress party would be limited to just two seats in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and may not win even a single seat in Rajasthan. ABP-Nielsen gave the BJP and its allies 24 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 19 seats in Rajasthan and six seats in Chhattisgarh. Congress, on the other hand, may win six seats in Rajasthan and five each in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, suggested ABP-Nielsen.

According to News18-IPSOS, Congress may win two to four seats in both Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh and two to three seats in Rajasthan. India Today Axis Poll gave BJP 26-28 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 23-25 seats to BJP and its allies in Rajasthan and seven to the saffron party in Chhattisgarh.

South India

Except for Karnataka, the BJP is projected to be limited to single digits in the other southern states. The Congress-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) combine will likely sweep the polls in Tamil Nadu; the alliance is set to win 34-38 seats in the state, as per the India Today Axis exit polls. In Andhra Pradesh, while Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) can win 18-20 seats, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will likely get only four to six seats, and others are likely to get zero or one seat.

Also read: Exit Polls Predict A Congress Lead In The South

In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) will win 15-16 seats and Left Democratic Front (LDF) will get three to five seats, as per India Today Axis. The BJP might win one seat in Kerala, as per same exit poll. The saffron party, however, is projected to emerge victorious in 21-25 seats in Karnataka, the Congress might get three to six seats, and others will likely get one seat at the most, and the grand old party is likely to win the single seat in Puducherry, India Today-Axis suggested.

As per Poll of Polls in NDTV, the Congress and the DMK will win 26 seats in Tamil Nadu, the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) combine will win eight seats in Karnataka. The NDTV exit polls suggested that the YSRCP will win 16 seats and the TDP will win nine seats in Andhra Pradesh. In Karnataka, the BJP will likely win 20 seats, as per NDTV.

Today’s Chanakya projected that the DMK and Congress would win 31-35 seats in Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka, the pollster suggested that the Congress-JDS alliance will bag five to nine seats and BJP will score 23-26 seats. In Kerala, the UDF is projected to win 16-19 seats, while the LDF is likely to get four to seven seats; the BJP might emerge victorious in just one seat. In sharp contrast to other pollsters, Today’s Chanakya predicted that N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP would win 17-20 seats in Andhra Pradesh and YSR Congress would bag only three to eight seats.

As per C-Voter, the Congress-led alliance will win nine seats and the NDA will get 18 seats in Karnataka. In Tamil Nadu, C-Voter suggested that UPA will win 27 seats, while the NDA will win 11 seats. News Nation predicted that the NDA would win 18 seats and the UPA will win ten seats in Karnataka. News 18 IPOS exit poll indicated that the Congress-DMK combine would win 22-24 seats and the AIDMK and alliance are projected to win 14-16 seats. In Karnataka, News 18 IPSOS exit poll suggested that the BJP will win 21-23 seats and the UPA will likely score only five to seven seats. In Kerala, the channel is projecting that UDF will win seven-nine seats and LDF will get 11-13 seats.

According to the Times Now-VMR exit poll, the K Chandrasekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will win 13 of the 17 seats while the Congress will win two in Telangana. The India TV-CNX exit poll predicted that the TRS would win 14 seats and Congress party will win two, and Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMM) will get one seat.

News24-Chanakya gave TRS 14-16 seats, and Republic-C Voter exit poll gave the party 14 seats. The CNN News18-IPSOS predicted 12 to 14 seats for TRS and gave one-two seats to the Congress party. India Today-Axis India exit poll shows that KCR’s party is likely to win 10-12 seats and the Congress and BJP may win one-three seats each.

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