As the voting ends today, the exit poll fever will grip the nation until May 23, the day of counting of votes. Before that, the exit polls of all hues would be taken as the gospel truth by the political leaders and supporters as they suit them. However, we all know that the truth would prevail in next 4 days and there won’t be any room for arguments as the results would be there for all to see. Still, we wait with bated breath for the fortune-tellers to tell us the fate of the netas.

(Full Coverage on Lok Sabha Elections 2019)

While writing this piece, I asked a news junkie in the newsroom if she believes in exit polls? The straight answer came as why would I tell the truth to any surveyor as to who did I vote for? The data analysts make data analysis so complex that it becomes difficult even for a voter to comprehend who he or she did vote for or whether did they vote for the right candidate or not. Why should one rely on a prediction that has to go wrong? For instance, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, anyone could have guessed that the BJP was coming to the power and the 10-year UPA-rule had to go anyway. Then, these poll pundits predicted the BJP’s victory. What big deal? They couldn’t predict the scale of victory. They couldn’t predict that the BJP would come with 282 seats alone.

By using latest online tools and data analytics, poll pundits try to sell it as a science, but it lacks the accuracy of being qualified as the science. Since it involves seemingly complex data churning, so it is not an art also. Once a top agency blamed it on the software that they used to predict the results for Bihar Assembly Election 2015. As the result was total opposite to what it had predicted. The entire exercise of poll prediction is based on surveys in which the surveyor asks a set of questions to the voter. What if the voter lied? What if the voter didn’t reveal who did he/she vote for? Why would anyone reveal who did he or she vote for if the entire exercise is done in secrecy?

Of 542 seats polled, the analysts collect the data so fast and predict the outcome wherein it could be quite possible that most of the people they surveyed might not have revealed the truth. We are humans and we trend to conceal more than we reveal. Surveying 100 odd people in a constituency with over 10 lakh voters and predicting the outcome is a folly.

Today evening as the voting ends we would again look up to TV and suspend our disbelief and live happily with takeaways that suit us till May 23. So, watch what the fortune-tellers predict today and match it with the outcome.

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