Indian Express

Other winner: Today’s Chanakya

Pollster says numbers sacrosanct, bigger sample isn’t always better. Tweet This
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On Friday, as the results of the Lok Sabha elections came in, it was clear that all exit polls had — unlike on a few embarrassing occasions earlier — got the drift basically right. All except one poll — which had got it absolutely right.

On May 12, News24-Today’s Chanakya predicted 340 seats for NDA (291 for BJP) and 70 for UPA (57 for the Congress). The NDA’s number was 51 more than the next highest predicted and the UPA’s 21 lower than the next lowest predicted. Then, Today’s Chanakya’s predictions had appeared wildly improbable.

The results are now part of election history: 336 for NDA, 282 for BJP; 59 for UPA, 44 for Congress. Today’s Chanakya’s predictions have been the closest.

This isn’t the first time that Today’s Chanakya has got it right either. It predicted AAP’s spectacular debut in the Delhi assembly elections (31 seats; AAP got 28), and got the tally of the BJP right in both Delhi (predicted 29, got 32 seats) and Madhya Pradesh (predicted 161, got 165) in December 2013.

Vinod Bajaj, CEO of Today’s Chanakya, says the secret of his success lies in never mixing “perceptions with the story that numbers tell”. This works everywhere, he says — in 2010, three days before polling in the UK, Today’s Chanakya predicted that “Labour Party rule in the UK seems to be numbered”.

Today’s Chanakya has repeatedly stuck its neck out and made “hardcore” predictions, Bajaj says. “In assembly elections of Delhi, MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in 2013, my team was the only one to have got it right for all the four states,” he said.

Today’s Chanakya is part of RNB Research, a Delhi-based market research company owned by Bajaj’s family. The company conducts research for political and commercial entities in several Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries.

Bajaj speaks of “11 models” of analytics and research, a rigorous methodology with several in-built check and counter-check tools, and a highly qualified and dedicated team.

“We take great pains to ensure that our sample is diverse and truly representative of local factors. We do not use a universal sample format for all territories. Then, we let our data tell the story. We do not worry about it being in sync or in contradiction to popular perceptions,” Bajaj said.

And in sampling, big isn’t always better: “The popular perception is that bigger the sample size, better the results. I disagree completely.”

PDP eyes big Assembly win, NC in a fix

With the NC’s rout in the Valley, the rise of the PDP seems imminent as its vote share surged in several Assembly constituencies across north, south and central Kashmir.

For the first time, the PDP has won all the three parliamentary seats in the Valley and its leaders are now expecting a landslide victory in the Assembly elections later this year. Of the 45 Assembly seats in Kashmir, the NC along with its coalition partner Congress managed to seek lead in only five segments across the Valley.

There were loss of votes for the NC even at Ganderbal Assembly continued…

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