Despite my critique of their use of communal violence data, the India Today Group graciously invited me to participate in a panel discussion on opinion polling at the India Today Conclave 2014 on Saturday, Mar 8.
I made the following points:
- Parliamentary seat projections should be treated with skepticism because there is no simple relationship between vote shares and seats won (as I have argued previously).
- About a fifth of the seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha election were won with a margin of 3 per cent or less, which means that fluctuations within the margin of error of most surveys can dramatically change the number of seats a party wins.
- Between 20 and 30 per cent of voters make up their minds about whom to vote for a couple of days prior to voting, and last minute vote swings can make a big difference.
- Of course I didn’t think that opinion polls should be banned but made more transparent and evaluated by better-informed consumers.
The full video of the event is here: India Today Conclave 2014: Need to regulate opinion polls, say psephologists.
Here is an edited version: