Elections

Can Exit Polls Predict Election Results? Does It Only Wield Stock Market Boom?

Just ahead of the result day, Pradeep Gupta, the CEO of Axis My India who claimed to have 94 per cent success in predicting the results of the elections said that one of the most significant events of the country is the exit polls

PTI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leader Jairam Ramesh and others during a press conference in Delhi on June 6, 2024 Photo: PTI
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A few days before the Lok Sabha election results came out, Home Minister Amit Shah during an interview said that the stock market would boom on June 4. He also advised the people to invest in stock market. On June 1 when the exit polls came out and projected a massive victory for BJP- some even went to the extent of giving them 400- the stock market boomed. For the next two days, the upwards growth of stock market was unprecedented. And then the results came on June 4.

Debunking all the exit polls predictions as the BJP couldn’t even reach the singular majority mark, stock market crashed immediately by 2000 points. Reports say that millions of people have lost their money in this unexpected fall. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on June 7 held a press conference and asked the government to form a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to look into who benefited from it. But the most important thing that he pointed out relates to the exit polls and its projection. Who was responsible for it? Was there a real survey or was it fabricated to create the boom?

Just ahead of the result day, Pradeep Gupta, the CEO of Axis My India who claimed to have 94 per cent success in predicting the results of the elections, said that one of the most significant events of the country is the exit polls. Jointly with India Today, they came up with their numbers and gave NDA more than 400 seats. However, on June 4 when the results came out, he broke down in tears.

Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai who anchored the exit polls show on India Today, sitting beside Gupta recently tendered an apology and said, “We owe an apology for projecting exit polls as ‘exact polls’”. This is nevertheless not the first time that the exit polls gave wrong numbers.

In 2004, banking on the ‘India Shining’ campaign BJP expected to sweep the country. The exit polls also followed suit and projected their victory. Most of the exit polls showed BJP getting around 275 seats whereas Congress was projected to get less than 200 seats. Neither of the numbers they got right. As the results came out, it was found that BJP won 138 seats and the Congress got 145. The UPA ultimately formed the government that survived for ten years.

In recent past, the exit polls projected win for Congress in Chhattisgarh. On the contrary, BJP swept away the state in December, 2023. Earlier talking about the accuracy of exit polls, political scientist from HCU, Afroz Alam said, “Nowadays, exit polls in India are often failing due to the political biases of the agencies conducting them. Frequently, data is released without actual fieldwork, tailored to fit the narratives of the sponsoring political parties. In other words, many exit polls are sponsored by political parties to gain political advantage, undermining their credibility and reliability.”

Against this backdrop, the question remains who do these exit polls benefit? Will the parliament constitute a JPC to investigate the sudden stock market boom and the consecutive fall? One recalls what Congress communication-in-charge Pawan Khera said just before the exit polls. Denying to join the discussion on exit polls day, Khera said, “The original verdict is on June 4 and there is no point of discussing the projected numbers.”

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