As the exit poll data on Sunday projected a return of the BJP-led NDA government as a strong possibility, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dismissed it on Twitter as “Exit Poll gossip”. Although as an opposition leader, Banerjee might not like the projection, exit polls weren’t particularly accurate in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
On the last day of polling for the 2014 elections on May 12, several pollsters had projected a result in favour of the NDA alliance. However, few had predicted the sweeping majority the BJP secured when the results were announced on May 16, 2014.
Exit Poll Results 2019: Check state-wise Lok Sabha election exit poll results
While most agencies projected a downward spiral for the Congress and its allies, most gave them about 100 seats. The pollsters identified the momentum in favour of the NDA and the exit polls predicted that they would comfortably cross the halfway mark of 272.
But the results left almost everyone surprised. While most pollsters had not got the trends wrong, it appeared that their data did not capture the decimation of Congress and a sweep by the BJP.
The BJP managed 282 seats on its own, a number the pollsters had thought the NDA alliance will manage to get. Riding on the wave in favour of the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the NDA secured a total of 336 seats.
Exit poll results: Here what they predicted for 2014 and what actually happened
On the other side, the incumbent UPA alliance won only 59 constituencies and the Congress managed only 44 seats across the country — its lowest ever tally.
Most pollsters did not predict that the NDA will gain 166 seats, and the UPA will lose 162. All pollsters except one though. News 24 channel had hired an agency, Chanakya, whose numbers were way off the other agencies, but came close enough to the final result. Chanakya had predicted 340 seats for NDA, 70 for UPA and 133 for other parties.
Some exit poll results released on Sunday are predicting that the NDA tally may come down to 242, while others predict that it may climb to 365. The lowest projection for UPA is 77 and the highest is 164.