Soon after the voting for the third and last phase of Bihar assembly elections concludes on November 7 evening, television channels will begin airing predictions about the winner based on exit polls. The exit polls are based on responses of people who have cast their votes. Pollsters, assuming that the voters have correctly revealed their choice, predict the results much before the actual counting of votes begins.
The predictions are known to be off the mark on many occasions. During the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, only one agency had managed to capture the mood in the state which overwhelmingly voted for an alliance led by chief minister Nitish Kumar with him coming to power for the third consecutive term.
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Here’s a look at the exit polls and what has happened in the past:
By when will exit polls results be out?
Voting across the remaining 78 seats in the last phase of Bihar assembly elections is expected to end at 6pm on November 7, as per Election Commission of India norms. However, if voters are queued outside polling stations beyond the scheduled time, the polling hours are usually extended.
How is exit polls data collected?
Pollsters are usually stationed outside polling booths on all voting days and they conduct a survey. They ask the people who have cast their ballot about their choice of the party in the fray. Assuming that the voters have correctly answered, such data is collected and collated from across all booths in the state and the predictions ie the expected share of seats each party shall win, are aired shortly after polling concludes and pollsters submit the gathered responses.
Also Read: Why did BJP decide to back Nitish Kumar in Bihar?
Are exit polls predictions accurate?
Since the predictions are based on the assumption that the voters have correctly revealed their choice and also since only a limited number of people are questioned and not each and every voter, the exit polls turn out to be wrong several times, like in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections.
Why did 2015 Bihar exit polls say?
In 2015, all pollsters, except Axis APM, could not accurately predict the outcome or the seats won by each party. Axis APM released the findings on its website but they were not telecast on any television channel. The poll predicted 169-183 seats for the Grand Alliance and 58-70 for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Today’s Chanakya forecast a two-thirds majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA with 144-166 seats. By evening, the NDA’s tally was just about 60. It later admitted that it had made a mistake and tweeted an apology saying “We sincerely apologise all our friends & well wishers for not able to predict Bihar. Congratulations to the winning alliance.” The agency did not attempt to explain why it was so wide off the mark.
While television channel NDTV too predicted a BJP-led government in Bihar, the ABP-Nielsen exit poll foresaw a Grand Alliance victory but failed to anticipate the extent of the success and the BJP’s reduced tally. The India Today-Cicero exit poll and two others predicted a photo finish.