When Psephology becomes victim of ideology – How Congress spread fake survey

Election season is a very important time for many businesses like banner printing, supporters/ workers for hire, media, psephologists, etc. In today’s market, everything is evolving. You need to be trendy, fast, creative to able to catch eyeballs thereby a piece in this very lucrative pie. So everyone is coming up with new brilliant ideas to catch the attention of the customers in this case, political parties.

In the age of Social media, all these businesses are also getting democratized and everyone is turning themselves to be poster designers, keyboard supporters, media, psephologists, etc. Since I support free market principles, I don’t have an issue in any of this. In fact, I actually encourage most of them. This has also kept the traditional players in these trades on their toes. However, this rapid democratization has also given way for fake news/ opinion pieces masquerading as psephology which is an issue.

Anyway, in this article, I would like to show how funny some of the fake psephologists’ results are when compared to reality. There is a gentleman called Sumit Kashyap who has prepared a tracker by “comprehensive analysis of all reports”. Here is his report I have downloaded from his twitter TL.

The seat predictions shared by a Congress supporter on Twitter

To know his credibility you don’t have to go any further than his prediction of Chattisgarh seats. Out of 11 seats there, he gives 8 to Congress, but for Congress+ (which means with allies) the number drops to 7. Congress doesn’t have any allies in Chattisgarh. So the number for Congress+ should have been 8 only. But the number has mysteriously dropped to 7. This clearly shows how this report was prepared.

First, he has put the total seats won by Congress which is 150 and then distributed the numbers. I will give one more example of the farfetchedness of this report. For Karnataka, the numbers for Congress & Congress+ are 12 & 18 respectively. This means the ally of Congress in Karnataka, JDS should win 6 seats. On paper, JDS is contesting on 7 seats but in reality, they are only fighting 3 seats of Hassan, Mandya, & Tumakuru (HMT). Of these they are certain to lose Mandya and Tumakuru is a toss-up. As far as Congress is concerned, their only safe seat is Bengaluru Rural, a DK Shivkumar fiefdom. Still, this clown psephologist predicts 18 seats for Congress+

Recently there was an article planted by Congress as to how the party is headed for a landslide victory in this general elections. Why I say this article is planted is because for an author who has “more than 15 years of experience” this is the only article in medium platform. He also has a handful of followers, all pointing to a planted story.

Anyway, the article says Congress is poised to win 230 seats. First of all winning 230 seats out of 543 seats is not landslide victory. One has to secure at least 60% seats to call a landslide victory. That aside, it is well known that Congress is realistically contesting in only 210 seats. How is it going to achieve victory in 230 seats is a serious question that needs answering.

Also, here I present the most damning evidence. The CM of Madhya Pradesh, Kamalnath who is a key Congress leader confidently predicts 122 seats for Congress. You can then imagine the actual number he might have in mind (My guess is just about 60)

Senior leader of Congress and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister predicting less than 125 seats for Congress in 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Yet, why do these psephologists get their numbers so wrong and so out of sync from ground reality? I’m not suggesting that their numbers have to be 100% accurate. We have seen many reports by actual psephologists who have done their work scientifically go horribly wrong when actual results are out. But then, those reports were the result of their data collection and analysis, not on ideologies. If you want to be a good psephologist you should be bereft of your ideologies and take the numbers as they come because when the results do come they don’t care about your ideology.

I know psephology is more of an art than science. But an art, created without even holding the canvas right is not an art at all. Hence, a piece of free advice to all these budding psephologists: Never allow your ideology to color your reports and analyses. If you do then you lose your credibility.

Finally, #AyegaToModiHi 😉

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