New Delhi: Exit polls have often missed the bullseye on the number of seats that various national and regional parties ultimately get.
For instance, in the 1999 Parliamentary election, though Congress was accurately predicted to win between 130 and 145 seats, the exit polls failed to estimate the influence of the third force, which bagged 113 seats against the prediction of 34.
Likewise, during the 2004 general election, all exit polls predicted a comfortable win for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), but finally Congress emerged as the single largest party.
When the election results were announced, the NDA was reduced to 189 seats, against predictions of anything between 230 and 275 of the total 543 seats. On the other hand, Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won 222 seats and formed the government with the support of the Left.
Pollsters again went wrong during 2009 general election with most exit polls suggesting an even contest between the UPA and the NDA. However, the UPA actually won 262 seats and the NDA got 159.
Similarly, almost every exit poll predicted only a simple majority for the NDA in 2014. But the NDA actually bagged 336 seats sweeping all seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, and almost all of Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh as well as Bihar.