While most exit polls had forecast a win for the BJP-led NDA, the one that came closest to predicting the sweep was Today’s Chanakya, backed by RMB Research.

The minimum number of seats that the Chanakya team had predicted for the BJP-led NDA was 326, which was higher than the maximum number of seats predicted by other pollsters.

“Usually, everybody in India focuses on quantity rather than quality… Everybody asks about the sample size,” says VK Bajaj, CEO of Today’s Chanakya, who requested that he be identified as ‘Team Today’s Chanakya’ in this report.

Data mix

The agency’s team used a mix of exit and post-poll surveys to arrive at the numbers. “The most important point was to ensure that the correct representative sample was arrived at. The team of Today’s Chanakya took special efforts to ensure that the sample represented the ground situation. We put in checks and counter-balances,” said Team Today’s Chanakya.

The team got it right in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and state elections held in 2013 in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

“We have been in the market research segment for 20 years now, and we used our experience,” said Team Today’s Chanakya.

He declined to share specific details such as the size of the team involved in the survey, or specific methodologies in deciding the sample.

The team said it benefited from 20 years of experience and says it has even worked on the US and the UK elections.

Sticking to the basics

“We simply follow the basics of predictions. Many new agencies have cropped up that follow the MNOP but do not do the ABCD,” said the Team Today CEO.

“We do not mix individual perceptions with the data. Many new agencies have the tendency to mix perceptions,” he added, reiterating that there was no secret recipe to get the numbers correct beyond sticking to the basics.

(This article was published on May 16, 2014)
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