Overheard on the campaign trail

"Uday was under the influence of alcohol and lost his balance while selecting the button. Holding the machine in right hand, he fell down with the machine"
Nelamangala rural police describe their arrest of an inebriated voter.

“It is wrong to award death penalty for rape. Boys commit mistakes sometimes. If SP is voted to power, we will change the laws”
Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party, promises to lessen penalties for rape!

“Solution is this: any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.
Abu Azmi, Samajwadi Party, expands on his partys’ promise for dealing with rape!

“They treated us to really good biryani and a quarter of whiskey” 
Rampal Singh, on his local partys’ hospitality

"My parents are traditionally loyal to a political party, but I voted for an individual I think can provide me security and job opportunities." 
Ritika, first time-voter, displaying newfound confidence in younger voters.

 "We have polling on different dates in western Maharashtra and Mumbai. Polling in Satara is on April 17 and in Mumbai on April 24. I advise Marathi workers to first cast vote in Satara on April 17, come back to Mumbai and again exercise franchise on April 24 … Of course, please do not forget to wipe the (electoral) ink before casting the vote the second time."
Sharad Pawar, NCP, providing logistical advice for double-voting!

‘We will chop him into tiny pieces’
Imran Masood, Congress, describing what he will do to PM-hopeful Modi

“Before, if voting was on a long weekend, we would have stepped out of the city earlier to make the most of our holiday…Now we realize the value of our votes. We will head out after.”
Aditi Rao, Software Professional, for whom the vote outweighs the long weekend.

"A couple of elections ago it was not such a game of money…Now you have business people in politics, whereas earlier they were involved in managing their empires."
P.K. Dash, Election Commission, complaining about the cash for vote problem

The Last of the Polls

While we should be awaiting exit poll predictions, NDTV released their last opinion poll, giving the NDA 275 seats - past the required 272 for a majority. Of course, opposing parties have claimed the poll doctored. Performed by Hansa Research, details on methodology have been brief, at best.

It is not inconceivable, if one views the other opinion polls as well as our aggregated analysis, to see the NDA get a majority. However, we still firmly believe it will be through newly formed alliances with parties in States such as Tamil Nadu.

Not right to give death penalty for committing rape: Mulayam

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today said, "It is not right to give death penalty for committing rape, boys make mistakes. If we come to power, we will check misuse of anti-rape law".

Bahu dilao-Vote pao! A different kind of Bribery

One for the weird files.... A group of men in Bibpur, Haryana, are spearheading a campaign to bribe politicians to ensure wives for villagers in return for their vote in the upcoming general elections.

Could Social Media make a difference?

With all opinion polls now banned while voting continues across India, we look at other interesting topics in relation to the Lok Sabha elections. Some will be serious and some will be fun!

This will unquestionably be considered the first social media election. Many Politicians, such as Modi and Shashi Tharoor, have millions of twitter followers each. With the electorate being increasingly young, every parties presence online will become increasingly important. Recently, the Internet and Mobile Association of India estimated that a well-executed social media campaign could swing 3-4% of votes.

Unfortunately, for those of us who like a little fun, it may mean officials will become more versed in social media and topics such as cloud computing. We will see less of the likes of Vishwa Bandhu!

Final Pre-Poll Aggregation Results: NDA (242), UPA (130) OTHER (171)

Using the approach described here, our final analysis of the pre-poll predictions gives the NDA 242, UPA 130 and Other parties 171. We restricted our pre-poll data to the polls conducted in the last two months only. We thank everyone for visiting the blog and will continue posting as the results come in. Clearly, from our analysis no party comes to the magical 272 and there will clearly be a great deal of jostling to establish a majority government. Good luck to all during the next few weeks of voting!

Methodology Updated

Here, we present our final methodology used for our analysis in relation to the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.

1. Our first exercise was to database the election results of the previous four election cycles. This allowed us to perform a conditional logic analysis that predicted the odds of winning for each party and alliance within each constituency. As part of this analysis we also made predictions and updates to the data to ensure the delimitation of 2008 was taken into account. Ultimately, we had a database with seat safety for each constituency as well as the average winning margin for that party. The report based on this analysis can be seen in this blog post.

2. Now that we had the historic data captured, we focused on the pollster predictions coming through the media. We did not use any national predictions, but rather focused on the state predictions. As has been seen in previous predictions, we found that a number of leading pollsters had been relatively accurate in their by-state predictions. The best of these pollsters was the CSDS. Of course, 2004 had seen pollsters perform poorly, but even then many of their state predictions were fairly accurate. There were, obviously a few exceptions. Our blog post that goes into further detail on our analysis of the pollsters can be seen here. During this 2014 election cycle we databased the predictions made by CVoter, CSDS, Hansa, IPSOS and AC Nielsen. For each State and Union Territory we databased their seat predictions.

3. For each seat prediction, we used the historic data to determine what the poll margin win would be within each constituency or state. From these margins, we then determined the Median and SEM of winning the seat.

4. We finally created a dataset for each of the three alliances containing the Median and SEM for their winning margin within each of the 543 seats. We used this data to determine the exact number of winners, covering all ways of reaching that number given the win probability. We adapted the approach presented here