Uttar Pradesh is the BJP’s to lose. Or is it?

As counting day on 11 March approaches, it seems as difficult as ever to gauge which way the political wind in Uttar Pradesh (UP) is blowing. Even before the campaign began, pre-election opinion polls offered little help, showing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance neck and neck, with the Bahujan …

Continue reading Uttar Pradesh is the BJP’s to lose. Or is it?

Bihar may be an uphill battle for the BJP

An average of three recent opinion polls (here, here and here) shows that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- and Janata Dal (United)(JD(U))-led alliances are locked in a statistical dead heat in the 2015 Bihar state election. This is a very creditable performance for the BJP. The party was long overshadowed by its partner of two …

Continue reading Bihar may be an uphill battle for the BJP

Running to stand still

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) continues to advance in the opinion polls.  The NDTV-Hansa survey projects a majority for the alliance if elections were held in March: https://twitter.com/ndtv/status/455743412189155329 The CNN-IBN-CSDS-The Week election tracker is more cautious in its forecast, but has also projected a 20-seat improvement in the NDA's seats tally over the …

Continue reading Running to stand still

How opinion polls fared in the last two general elections

As more and more opinion polls hit the headlines, it's worth recalling how they fared in the two most recent general elections: 2004 https://twitter.com/PankajPachauri/status/408269945563136000 2009 https://twitter.com/PankajPachauri/status/444016247303176192 Note: The figures in parentheses under the NDA and UPA columns are the respective seat tallies of the BJP and Congress Party.

Should opinion polls be banned?

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 …

Continue reading Should opinion polls be banned?

Why you should ignore opinion poll seat projections

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Indian public opinion polls are much better at predicting party vote shares than they are at extrapolating to seats won in parliament or state assemblies. That’s because vote shares translate into seats in an unpredictable way under India’s multiparty “first-past-the-post” electoral system. For example, the Indian National Congress …

Continue reading Why you should ignore opinion poll seat projections