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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lok Sabha elections 2009: Will Opinion polls prove right?

Real test of credibility of Opinion polls [2009]

Opinion polls have failed quite often but that doesn't deter TV channels from conducting their own pre-election surveys which claim to represent the voters' mood.

In a month, the composition of the Lok Sabha will be clear and I am looking forward to see if any of these polls would be close to the actual mandate given by the Indian electorate. No doubt the opinion polls interest the audience but once again we will see how much the pollsters know the pulse of Indian citizen.

Almost all the channels have given a clear edge to the Congress-led UPA. NDA has been trailing in opinion polls except the one, conducted by India TV. The most recent analysis of NDTV*, shows that UPA is going to get 210 seats [231, if Samajwadi Party supports it after election], followed by NDA 166.

The third and fourth front will be in the position to make or break the next government. I really don't see how Congress is getting 163 seats, as the table above shows. After all, which states are they going to get so many seats from? Isn't it too much in favour of Congress?

As per the analysis:

BJP gets 123, JDU 22, Shiv Sena 9, AGP 4, Akali 3, RLD 3,INLD 1 and NPF 1.
CPI (M)-CPIRSP-Forward Bloc 42, BSP 42, AIADMK 13, TDP 18, BJD 9,TRS 4,PMK 4 &JDS 2
SP 21 RJD-LJP 10 and PRP 2
Independents and others 8
Total 543. Needed 272 for majority. Two MPs are nominated.

It seems so easy here for UPA. If either Left or BSP comes to rescue, the UPA will reach the magic figure. But is it going to be so easy? I don't think so.

Star News-AC Nielson forecast had given UPA 257 and NDA 184 seats. CNN-IBN and CSDS poll gave margins: UPA 215-235 and NDA 165-185. Some other channels including Total TV said that it will be a UPA whitewash and BJP would be nowhere.

India TV however predicts that NDA will emerge as the biggest alliance with 189 seats and UPA will be a close second with 185. With the first phase of poll already behind us, it's a matter of weeks that the likes of Prannoy Roy, Dorab Supariwala, Yogendra Yadav and other psephologists would sit and tells us how close to the results, they were in their opinion polls.

What about Uttar Pradesh?

Nobody seems sure of what is happening in Uttar Pradesh. The state that has a population of 180 million (180 crore) will hold the key. Through out the 90s, BJP remained a favourite for psephologists and they wrote off SP every time. However, Mulayam Singh Yadav emerged stronger with every elections.

Now after Mayawati's victory in the Assembly polls, BSP seems the most intriguing party to everyone. Pollsters are even predicting 40 seats out of 80 to BSP. This is despite the fact that Brahmins are not going to vote for BSP with the same passion which they did in the Assembly polls when the issue was a change in the state government.

Besotted by Behenji

Many see a revival of BJP. However, a Varun Gandhi episode can't change the caste-based UP politics overnight. BSP had a tally of 19 seats in the last Parliament. It may go up to 24 or 26 but I find it unbelievable that their vote percent would shoot up as much that Mayawati would be able to bag half of the seats of the state.

In fact, these days everybody seems to love calling Mayawati an enigma. She is already being touted a Queen. I have nothing against her but I feel, most of the journalists are in awe of her as she doesn't allow anybody to get close to her. NDTV gives BSP 42 seats. Is it plausible? Of course, SP may lose some vote but it will hold its turf.

Either it's Lok Sabha election 2004 or the Vidhan Sabha elections of 2002 and 2007, SP has maintained its vote share at 26%. No other party has managed to do that (except Congress at a mere 8.8%). BSP had in the meantime increased its share considerably (by +7%) while BJP lost as much (-7%).

In 2004, SP had won an astonishing 37 seats followed by BSP that had 19 seats, BJP could win 10 and Congress 9. RLD had got 3 while two Independents had entered Parliament from UP. Now let's wait for May 16, and see correct these psephologists have been about Election 2009.

What about Bihar-West Bengal?

Apart from UP, I am in interested in the performance of Left in West Bengal and whether the alliance of Lalu Yadav-Ram Vilas Paswan will stop the Nitish Kumar's JD (U)-BJP juggernaut in Bihar. Both have solid and transferable vote banks but if opinion polls give them just 10 seats, I wonder at the sample size of the electorate that was taken in consideration.

In one of the first polls, two decades back Congress was given a majority though it was VP Singh's National Front that ultimately formed government with BJP's support. Over the years, we have seen polls go horribly wrong. In Tamil Nadu polls had missed the clear strong electoral wave.

So I am eagerly awaiting the election results to see the veracity of these polls. Howsoever, smartly these results may have been presented, it's tough to come out with figures that can be justified in case either of the fronts emerges clear leader.

Why it's tough to predict in India?

We don't have a US like system. Neither do we have a two-party system. Often electorate doesn't know the (regional) party he has voted for, would end up supporting Manmohan Singh or LK Advani or neither.

TDP, AIADMK, BJD, RLD and many others can go anywhere. In multi-cornered [three and four cornered] fights, as in most UP seats, mathematics can't work. So it's not statistics alone that can lead us close to the real picture.

Especially, when the people hide their support. Muslims, Backwards and Dalits often publicly name Congress or BJP as the party of their choice in UP but end up voting for BSP or SP. So, the credibility of the polls is at a real test in this election. Waiting for May 16. And if they go wrong will the psephologists, accept it and say sorry!

See related stories on Elections 2009 on this blog:

BJP, Congress equally worried about numbers: Who will form government UPA or NDA?
The Opinion polls give Congress edge, BJP slipping
Will UP Muslims vote for Samajwadi Party?

[*Link to the above-mentioned programme/NDTV analysis]


Anonymous said...

Havent NDTV and IBN always predicted BJP losses..be it the MP polls, Punjab, HP, Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh, Bihar,karnataka and most importantly the Gujrat polls, they always showed BJP trailing behind and losing badly. What was the end result is well known.

The likes of Pranoy Roy, Yogendra Yadav and Sardesai if they had any shame after their predictions proving horribly wrong shou;ld have stopped the business of opinion polls by now.But no anything to please their paymasters and anything to act as the propaganda channel of the grand old party.

BTW you wrote on Varun Gandhi's hate speech, but nothing yet on Imran Kidwai's fatwa or D Srinivas' chopping off the head comment . You are a truly secular person as defined by the indian media.

Anonymous said...

BJP 123 seats?? NDTV must be dreaming

J&k-1 (Jammu) Punjab- 3, HP -3 , Haryana -2, Uttarakhand -3, rajasthan-10, UP -15, Bihar- 10, MP -22, Chattisgarh-9, Jharkhand-7, orissa-4,Maharashtra-14, Gujrat-18, Karnataka-18, Assam-4, Others-4..total 147, at no cost is the BJP going to win less than 150 seats with its tally in UP likely to improve further. They wud hope jayalalitha to sweep the polls in TN and same for TDP in AP and also hope for Orissa to have a hung assembly forcing the BJD to rejoin NDA..all these are more than fair possibilities.

indscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
indscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
indscribe said...

@ Anon: See the speech properly. It doesn't target one person, it targets an entire community.

It doesn't just say cutting hands but also of beheading. He said that names like Mazharullah are terrifying.

Has he heard of Ashfaqullah, the great freedom fighter, who was hanged? He should be terribly ashamed of his speech and those defending him should also think twice before saying it.

Ashfaqullah, Ram Prasad Bismil and the entire group gave their lives for our freedom. They would never have thought that a loony would find names which are similar to their names, 'dreadful'.

Only a true traiter can do it.

Anser Azim said...

L.K.Advani Before the Statue of 'RAM'

Jawaid Badauni(Muscut)

Leta hooN tira naam mafadaat ki Khatir

He Ram main zindah hooN faqat zaat ki Khatir

Dhoke jo diye tujh ko chupa bhi nahin sakta

Yeh baat zamaney ko bata bhi nahin sakta

Main kuch bhi karooN teri nigahoN men woh kum hai

Har Haal meN ai Ram tira mujh pe karam hai

Har zulm tire naam pe dhata hoon yeh such hai

Main aag zamaney men lagata hooN yeh such hai

Dahshat bhi tire naam pe pahailaaoN tou kya hai

Pal bhar ko jo Rawan bhi main bun jaaooN tou kya hai

Har jurm pe ai Ram bacha leta hai mujh ko

Har baar tira naam bacha leta hai mujh ko

Ley ley ke tira naam yeh sub kaam kiya hai

Yeh such hai tire naam ko budnaam kiya hai

Ai Ram mujhe mere gunahoN ki chhama dey

KhuwwaboN men jo kursee hai mujhe us pe bitha dey

anser azim

Anonymous said...

Well done man. Unbaised analysis.

aaccording said...

Naik's written request for admission refused
Airoli college asks student to get Guardian Minister to call personally; Naik does so on the spot at Janata Darbar
Accordingly, Tiwari approached Naik, who is also State Minister for Excise, Environment and Labour at his Janta Darbar at Vishnudas Bhave Hall, Vashi on Friday. "Since the letter had no effect, we have come here to meet Naik personally and request him to make a phone call to the college," stated Tiwari, who has secured 70 percent marks in the SSC exam, and is seeking admission in Science stream. The college's cut-off is 75 percent.
Naik responded positively to the visitor's request by promptly calling the college authority on the spot and personally requested in favour of the student. The Minister coolly told the student that he should now go to the college on Monday for the necessary follow-up and the jubilant student, and his parents, left the Janata Darbar satisfied.
With the admission season on, a majority of the attendees at the Janta Darbar comprised of students and their parents, who were keen on the Minister's intervention to help them secure an admission in the college of their choice. There were also a handful of the usual visitors at the public gathering, putting forth issues ranging from poor bus connectivity in the nodes and bad condition of roads, to labour problems in local industries and civic mismanagement at the micro-level. And the Minister obliged them all.

Anonymous said...

Navi Mumbai police holds Iftaar party at Vashi
As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, number of Iftaars have increased. While the Iftaar at Bonkode village saw the participation of Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik, the Navi Mumbai Police organized an Iftaar Party at Vashi.
While the celebration of the Ramazan month may be coming to an end, many communities are holding Roz-Iftaar. One such feasting was seen by the Navi Mumbai Police which organised an Iftaar party at Vashi. The event was graced by Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik. Also present was Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol along with Ali Shamsi. The Iftaar party saw a huge gathering of muslims coming together to break the fast together. Later on, Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik and the guests present spoke to the media.
On the other hand, an Iftaar party was also held at khairane village where NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik was present. The Iftaar party held by the KGN Welfare association was held at the Jama Masjid in Khairne. Sandeep Naik was welcomed with shawl and zaree cap. The Muslim community then read the Magrib prayers and broke their fast.

Anonymous said...

United Christians Forum Of Navi Mumbai Pledge Support To Ganesh Naik And Sandeep Naik In Assembly Elections
A leader whose secular identity precedes him, it didn’t come as a surprise that more than 50 denominations of the Christian community came together to form the United Christians Forum of Navi Mumbai and pledged their support to NCP candidates from Belapur and Airoli Ganesh Naik and Sandeep Naik.
When it comes to communal harmony, peace, progress and security, Navi Mumbai has definitely set an ideal example for the country to see. And every time these qualities of Navi Mumbai are spoken of, one name that is given credited for establishing a secular image of Navi Mumbai; it’s Ganesh Naik. Perhaps that why, every election – communities across Navi Mumbai stand up to give unconditional support to Ganesh Naik – be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jain or the Christians. So did the Christian community in Navi Mumbai. For the first time ever, fathers and pastors representing over 50 denominations and churches of Navi Mumbai came together to form the “United Christian Forum” of Navi Mumbai.