Exit polls on track for Gujarat, but misread Congress upswing in Himachal

ujarat CM Bhupendra Patel and Gujarat BJP President C R Patil during the press meet after heavy BJP victory at Kamalam, BJP Head Quarter in Gandhinagar on Thursday December 08, 2022.
| Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Exit polls were largely on track with their predictions for Gujarat, though some of them had been a bit conservative with the number of seats to be won by the BJP. In Himachal Pradesh, however, the Congress managed to get a majority, which none of the polls — barring one — had predicted.

An analysis of nine exit polls shows that most had shown a tough fight for the BJP to retain power, but gave it an edge in Himachal Pradesh. Only Aaj Tak-Axis My India had predicted that Congress would be getting 30-40 seats in Himachal Pradesh against BJP’s 28-33. The exit poll by News24-Today’s Chanakya predicted a hung Assembly, giving both Congress and BJP 33 (+/-7) seats.

Similarly in Gujarat, India Today-Axis My India had predicted that BJP may win 129-151 of the 182 seats, while News24-Today’s Chanakya said BJP may win up to 150 seats in the State with around 50% vote share.

The ruling party in Gujarat garnered 156 seats, setting a record of winning the highest number of seats in the State.

The rest of the exit polls had predicted a win for BJP but with fewer numbers. The India News-Jan Ki Baat exit poll, for example, said BJP was expected to win 117-140 seats in Gujarat, while the opposition Congress may win 51-34 seats and AAP may win 13-6 seats. The exit poll by Republic TV-PMarq predicted 128-148 seats for BJP and 30-42 seats for Congress. It had said AAP may win 2-10 seats.

According to Pradeep Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, Axis My India: “We saw a pro-incumbency wave for the Narendra Modi-led BJP, which combined with a substantial divide in opposition votes between Congress and AAP, led to an historic victory for BJP as was predicted in our exit polls too”.

“As many as 41% of voters chose the party based on the development it brought to the State, while 19% chose it because of the “Modi factor”.

In Himachal Pradesh, most polls had suggested a dead heat between BJP and Congress but with a slight edge to the BJP. The ABP News-C Voter had, for example, given 33-41 to the BJP and 24-32 to the Congress. Similarly, India TV-Matrize had given 35-40 to the BJP and 26-31 to the Congress.

The edge, however, turned out to be in Congress’ favour on Thursday as the party bagged 39 seats.

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