Opinion Polls and India
The 2004 elections in India was a watershed – for opinion poll industry. After 20 years of work, the opinion poll industry thought that they had the models, the tricks, questionnaires and had the Indian Voter all figured out. 2004 changed that.
What looked like a certain victory for the BJP, turned out to be victory for the ‘no hope’ Congress Party – a surprise front runner. It was not just one opinion poll – but nearly half a dozen opinion polls that got it wrong. No wonder, this time around they, the opinion pollsters, were subdued when the Election Commission decided to finally implement the ‘no-opinion-polls-during-elections’ diktat.
That said, a post in India’s Times of India writes about how the diplomatic “grapevine will tell you, the entire diplomatic corps in New Delhi called the 2004 election results wrong — except the Russians.” I would like to know what methodology the Russians knew – and the rest of the world does not know about. Or was it just a fluke?
Unlike most Westernized ‘readers’ and ‘experts’, 2ndlook believes that the Indian Voter has been a smart voter – who has taken risks with ‘unknown’ parties and given opportunities to ‘risky’ elements. This has ensured that the Indian Voter has a large electoral choice – compared to the typical two-horse towns that passes of as elections in other countries.
This elections seems to centre around four scenarios.
Congress wins between 170-200 seats. Their allies win another 70-100 seats. At the higher end of the spectrum, the combine will easily form the Government. At the lower end, the UPA combine will fall short of about 30 seats. This may not pose a significant problem. This is of course subject to who the winners of the 70-100 seats in the Congress are. That will be the crucial factor.
- If Mamta Banerjee wins 15-20 seats, getting additional 30 seats from the Left Parties will be difficult.
- That may leave the Congress to look at the ADMK – if the DMK does not do well.
- If the DMK also does well, then Andhra Pradesh will hold the key. Will TRS /TDP combine break up and TRS will join the Congress? Will Chiranjeevi upset the apple cart? Or is that the Congress will make these Andhra parties irrelevant.
- NCP, Mulayam, Lalu and Paswan will possibly go quietly with the Congress in this scenario.
- If Mamta does badly and so does DMK, then Congress will have easy time – as the Left and the Third Front may simply fall in line and negotiate a good deal for themselves.
BJP wins 170-200 seats. Their allies win another 70-100 seats.
- The biggest worry for BJP will be the President. Who will the President give the first opportunity to – in case of a close result?
- BJP will have a tougher time – as the Congress will try for the same allies.
- BJP has an advantage with an inside track with TRS, BJD, ADMK. Unlike the Congress.
- Will Shiv Sena rope in Sharad Pawar to join an NDA Government? Possible!
- How much of a chance does BJP have with Mayawati? Considerable!
- In this specific scenario, the big thing for the BJP will be the number of seats that the allies win.
Congress and BJP get less than 150 seats each. One gets 130 – and the other gets 150! The Third and the Fourth Front get around 250 seats by themselves.
- BJP has said that it may partner with Congress to form a ‘stable Government! A BJP leader has gone on record saying the same!
- NCP leader PA Sangma has independently suggested that since there is “not much difference between the economic and foreign policies of these two parties and that their coming together could make India a “different country”.”
- The other thing will be a Third Front Government – which is seeming improbable as the two main forces for a Third Front, the Left and Telugu Desam’s Chandra Babu Naidu both seem to be doing badly. “Better a junior partner in a stable alliance like the UPA or NDA than a unstable Third Front” kind of thinking may win the day – and kill the Third Front.
- The Third Front may gravitate around Mayawati – whose ‘sarvjan’ ideology is very Indic – and unique. Unlike others, who are talking about reservations, only Mayawati talks about everyone’s welfare. Her bit about ‘tilak, taraazu aur talwar … teeno ko maar jootey chaar’ is again something that is a very Indic and a welcome development.
The most uncertain outcome.
Congress and BJP get between 140-165 seats each – leaving just about 220-260 seats for all others. None of the three Blocs are close to a majority. The Third and the Fourth Front get seats in the 2:1 ratio. BJP /Congress are not in a position to form the Government and neither do others!
Two possibilities – a rump party will form a Government depending on support from Congress or the BJP – a la Chandrasekhar, Charan Singh, Deve Gowda, IK Gujral et al. Or the BJP or Congress will cobble up a weak alliance – a Government that will bleed to death by a thousand cuts.
- Nitish seeks special status for Bihar
- Naveen Patnaik to back Cong govt at Centre
- Mayawati stands by Third Front
- Left ready to back Nitish as PM
- Cong indicates willingness for Nitish’s package formula
- Did Maya ride to secret LK meet in M-800?
- DMK or AIADMK? Cong plays it safe, waits for 16th
- BJP eyes Naveen Patnaik & Chandrababu Naidu
- Will Ms. Mayawati be PM, wonders India’s Dalit capital
- Less seats for Left won’t make it drive hard bargain: Cong
- Meeting with Rajnath was not political, says Amar Singh
- Mad Woman Theory of Politics in India
- No 2007 repeat, but Maya tally to rise
- AGP wants Advani as next Prime Minister
- Congress to emerge as single largest party: Rajasthan bookies
- Congress may dump DMK, may not need Maya
- The Kingmakers
- Third Front a fractured front: Praja Rajyam
- Marandi’s party to maintain equidistance from NDA, UPA
PS – This post continued getting interested readers well after the result came out! Was it possibly because that as one reviewer put it,
To begin with albeit a little late, is poll scenario analysis by Quick Tale. I call the post Nostradamus like because from the 4scenarios laid out in the post, the very first assumption became the election result. Comprehensive thoughts at: Scenarios and Outcomes – Indian Elections 2009
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With a focus on history, long-term trends, economy, political and social models. A blog that works to breakdown propaganda for what it is. The first blog of the group, over the four years of its existence, it has managed a monthly traffic of more than 10,000 hits.
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