Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tamil Nadu exit poll projections.

CNN-IBN and NDTV have come up with interesting theories following their exit polls from the state. The former suggests that there is a strong possibility of a sweep for the DMK led front, while the latter suggests that the swing away from the DMK led front has been garnered more by the DMDK than by the AIADMK led front and thats why the DMK led front will still come out on top. 

V.Venkatesan at Law and Other Things suggests a reason for such a culmination, which for me is surprising. Because every news report from Tamil Nadu tells me that the case is quite in favour of the AIADMK led front vis-a-vis the DMK led front. His theory is that the state voters in TN prefer to reflect their choice differently in national elections than in state elections. And since the AIADMK led front this time did not consist of a big national party in its alliance in contrast to the DMK led front containing the Congress, the vote share of the latter is predicted to be higher. I differ in this assessment qualitatively. 

First of all, the trend for victories has been attributed more to the "conglomeration of alliances" rather than allying with the national party alone. If I remember correctly, the AIADMK was in alliance, not just with the BJP but also with other smaller parties in the state (PMK, MDMK, JP, TRC then) in 1998.  

In 1999, the shift of the PMK and MDMK brought votes to the other alliance (this time the BJP, the DMK, the MDMK and the PMK). Later in the 2001 assembly elections, the front forged by AIADMK along with virtually the entire set of small parties except for the BJP which was in the DMK led front. And the AIADMK swept the polls then. 

Only for this to reverse, cometh 2004 (Lok Sabha), as the both the fronts switched parties again, with the BJP now supporting the AIADMK and all other smaller parties part of the DMK led front, resulting in a greater vote share for the DMK led front. 

Again there has been a switch in 2006 in the assembly elections, but what added intrigue was the presence of the DMDK, complicated things making the DMK only the single largest party with the Congress supporting from outside. 

The presence of the DMDK has meant that the switch of the smaller parties to either front comes with a lesser transfer of vote share to the core votes of the big parties (AIADMK or the DMK). That could explain a smaller transfer of votes (or swing) this time around and the possibility of a sweep is not going to be there in the direction of the "larger" front as has been before except for the 2006 Assembly elections. 

In essence, I don't quite agree with the conclusions of a sweep in the favour of the DMK+. Even if voters have been swayed by the Sri Lankan incidents, the vote should have been the other way around - to the AIADMK led front as the CPI, the PMK and the MDMK were the biggest mobilisers on the issue and the Congress was seen to be inactive vis-a-vis the issue.

So, there is a contradiction in the CNN-IBN's findings, I presume, which explicitly mentions a pro-LTTE position across the state (I doubt if it is indeed a pro-LTTE position in itself- its more likely a pro-Sri Lankan Tamil position). Plus I have serious issues with both the methodology and the % vote share to seat conversion methods used by both channels. But thats for another post. 

Anwyays, there are merely 7 more hours for the tallies to be started and I could have egg on my face. I am sticking my neck out and still predicting a 24-15 margin in favour of the AIADMK+. Lets see.

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