Opinion Polls are highly Unreliable in India

Unlike Exit polls, No opinion poll agency has a GOOD track record of getting the result right. 


We analysed 51 Opinion polls carried out within one month of election across 12 States carried out between 2014 and 2017.


The average opinion poll missed the actual results for the top party/alliance by 25.5% on an average


The opinion poll that came closest to the actual result missed the actual result of the top party/alliance by 15.5% on an average


The opinion poll that predicted the highest result for the top party missed the actual result by 11.9% on an average


The average % of Seats won by the winning party/alliance is a whopping 65% with the lowest being 42% and highest being 96%


The average % of Seats won in all States won by BJP is 62%

The average % of Seats won in all States won by other parties is 69%


If the above results were to be applied to the Karnataka opinion poll forecast, BJP could be winning a minimum of 109 seats OR the Congress could be winning a minimum of 117 seats. Such vagueness is due to the fact that TV5-Flash and C-Fore are producing extreme results


If one were to apply the average % of Seats won by leading party formula, you could say that BJP or Congress would win anywhere between 94 to 146 Seats. Still unpredictable!!


In this context, there is no clear direction from the Opinion polls in Karnataka though it is likely that at least one poll will get it right, most likely the poll that gave the most Seats to BJP or Congress


Other Statistics


  • BJP won 6 out of these 12 States, Regional/Small Parties 5, Congress 1

  • BJP has lost just one election (out of 5) where it was the main opposition (Delhi not included due to President’s rule)

-In 9 out of 12 States, the highest predicted seat share for a party that finished at the top was also the closest to the actual result


Our Recommendation: Ignore the Opinion Polls

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