Exit Polls Again Gets Results Wrong for the Bihar Election 2020


Almost all exit poll failed in Bihar election 2020 with error margin of 20 percent and above. Only some predicted it closely. Generally upto 5 percent error is considered a good analysis. Only one organisation named “ Centre for Socio-Economic and Political Research (CSEPR), New Delhi based socio-economic and political research institute exit poll matches with actual result with only 1 percent error margin.
Most predicted a clear win for the Mahagatbandhan, but the alliance eventually lost out in a close contest with very close margins in some constituencies. Surveys measure vote share and then use an algorithm to convert this into seats, with the conversion usually being the cause of erroneous projections. Predicting poll outcomes in a politically conscious state Bihar is always risky due to its complex region, caste and culture. Many organisation predicated exit poll by just looking at crowd coming to rallies and failed to understand, whether they are real voters or not. Analysing exit poll by looking at only vocal crowd and influential crowd and skewed samples size was big mistake. The pollsters who cover more constituencies usually conduct phone-based surveys that tend to leave out women and marginalized voters, particularly the poor. Most pollsters use statistical models to convert vote estimates into seats on basis of last result. International models of polling cannot work in India as most states have a multi-party system and the society is plural in nature. It is hard to convert insights from the ground into predictions because of risks of ecological fallacy. CSEPR sample size was huge with even distribution across sex, religion, caste, region, occupation etc. CSEPR focused more on silent voters, swinging voters, flotation voters, women, backward caste and supporters of small parties. Understanding the performance of smaller parties and including factors such as gaps in turnout of different groups that one comes to know only a day or two after the last voting round gave exit poll result upto mark.


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