The Assembly election in Delhi concluded at 6 pm today, wrapping up a season of outrage and intrigue. The capital recorded a turnout of 61.7 percent, a significantly lower figure than the 2013 and 2015 Assembly elections.
Till late December, those measuring public opinion handed electoral dominance to the Aam Aadmi Party. But the discourse changed after the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University in early January. The sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register of Citizens, and National Population Register was also brought to centrestage through the BJP’s public meetings and rallies across the capital, with the saffron party accusing AAP and the Congress of sponsoring and supporting the “Islamist” protest.
This shift in conversation introduced doubts about AAP’s smooth run. The BJP was slammed for purportedly injecting sectarian polarisation among Delhi’s voters, as AAP struggled to stick to the conventional issues of water, electricity and education.
Did this supposed polarisation work? Are AAP’s chances dented? Before the results pour out on February 11, the public sentiment can be glimpsed from the exit polls.
Times Now partnered with Ipsos, a France-based market research company, for the exit poll. It predicts 44 seats for AAP, 26 for the BJP and friends, and none for the Congress. Interestingly, it hands 51 percent of the vote share to the governing AAP.
Republic TV and Jan ki Baat have come out with grand brackets. They allot AAP 48-61 seats (meaning the margin of error is 13 seats, more than there are in a whole Delhi district). The party is predicted to get more than half the vote share. The poll gives 9-21 seats to the BJP and 0-1 seats to the Congress.
Neta, the app-savvy pollster, teamed up with NewsX (or India News) for the exit poll. It gives 53-57 seats to AAP and 11-17 to the BJP. The Congress comes out looking better than in the other exit polls, jumping from 0-1 (Jan ki Baat) to 0-2 in the NewsX-Neta numbers.
We got concise numbers from the TV9-Cicero exit poll. It gives 54 seats to AAP, 15 to the BJP, and only one to the Congress.
CVoter, which would usually join hands with Times Now, went with ABP News this time. The pollster gives us the biggest brackets: 49-63 seats for AAP, 5-19 for the BJP, and 0-4 for the Congress.
Like other exit polls, CVoter predicts that AAP will attract more than 50 percent of the vote share (50.4 percent to be exact). It predicts 36 percent of the vote for the BJP, and only nine percent for the Congress.
Lastly, we come to the superstar. Pradeep Gupta’s Axis MyIndia gave the seat projections for the 2019 parliamentary election. It repeated the feat for the Assembly elections in and Maharashtra later that year. The pollster has always been a bit of an outlier: its figures tend to be considerably different from its rivals.
This time, Axis predicts 59-68 seats for AAP (56 percent of the vote), 2-11 to the BJP (35 percent), and none to the Congress (5 percent).
Exit polls across TV news channels have served the same package to the viewer: AAP will clinch more than half the vote share and win a majority in Delhi. The BJP will also get a significant share of the votes but fall short of acquiring even a third of the 70 seats. In all likelihood, the Congress will pocket nothing.
Regardless of the uniform predictions, the results on February 11 will provide an interesting insight into how pollsters convert vote share to seats. Times Now-Ipsos gives 44 seats to AAP with 51 percent of the vote share, but CVoter-ABP lowers the vote share to 50.4 percent while bracketing the seat projection between 49 and 63.
Despite the claims of sophisticated data collection and high-tech sampling, the winning pollster on the results day will lay claim either to better math or better staff.