Television

Star News spot on with exit poll predictions

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MUMBAI: While the general Lok Sabha elections exit polls proved disastrous for all news channels, the Maharastra assembly elections have seen a definite improvement on the prediction front for most news channels. Star News however, can take the most credit for being close to spot on with the results.

After being rapped earlier in the year for misreading the voters' mood during the Lok Sabha polls, most seem to have got their act together. Star News on 13 October predicted at the end of balloting that the ruling Congress-National Congress Party (NCP) alliance would get 142 seats and the Sena-BJP alliance would bag 122 seats in the 288-seat assembly. Competitor channels on the other hand in an attempt to cover their base predicted an upper and lower limit range. Zee News was the only other news channel, apart from Star stuck its neck out and gave a straight number (Congress-NCP 125 versus Sena-BJP's 115).

The Maharashtra assembly results out on Saturday showed the ruling alliance won 140 seats with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine lagging behind with 118 seats and others and independents with 30.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com, Star News' CEO Uday Shanker gushes, "We took some corrective measures after the last Lok Sabha elections in consent with our research agency AC Neilson. One, is that we enhanced our sample size as well as covered many more constituencies which accounted for more than 1/3rd of the entire constituencies. Secondly, we also took some statistically corrective measures in an attempt to weed out the divergent trends."

Interestingly, news channels got a lot of flak during the Lok Sabha elections as politicians made a huge hue and cry about exit polls being grossly off track and misguiding the general sentiment of the people. Shankar adds, "This is not only good news for us but also for the entire broadcast news fraternity as it re-establishes the value of psephological predictions from a news channel's point of view."

Exit Poll Predictions released on 13 October:

News channel
Congress-NCP
BJP-Shiv Sena
BSP & others
Star News
142
122
24
Headlines Today
140 -50
100-110
30-40
Zee News
125
115
48
NDTV
125-135
120-130
30-45

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