As we approach Phase 3, I thought it’s good to reiterate my predictions for elections held till now on 81 seats (Phase 1 & 2 combined). There has been some confusion as people have picked up lower end of ranges and tweeted causing a lot of questions from followers on what’s my final count and as found out I too had made an error in calculations.

My pre-poll projections stand at 123-147 for NDA depending upon whether there is a wave or not (23 Sep. 2015). While a vote share in the range of 46-47% could fetch 147 seats (comfortable majority), a more benign vote share in the range of 42-43% may fetch 123 seats (simple majority). Link of detailed projections & rationale below:

There is a big discussion on social media, whether Janata alliance is ahead in Phase 1 & 2, if ahead by how much and whether the elections are a tight / close battle or not.

The score for 2010 assembly polls on these 81 seats was Janata alliance 54, NDA 23 & Others 4. Janata alliance was leading in 61 seats, NDA 19 and CPI in 1 seat (if you aggregate all their votes in LS polls held in May 2014). So Janata had a huge lead by whichever way you look at it (31 as per last assembly polls and 42 as per last LS polls). The average vote share gap in swing seats* in Phase 1 was 11% and Phase 2 was 9.7%. So any tally less than 61 or 54 is not a great performance by Gathbandhan.

*Swing seats are the seats in which NDA was leading in LS polls in 2014, but as soon as you aggregate the vote share of JDU and RJD / Congress (which fought separately then), NDA loses the lead and it goes to Janata alliance.

NDA is expected to win 35-41 seats, Janata alliance 38-44 seats and Others 0-2 seats in Phase 1 & 2. NDA is lagging by 3 seats in Phase 1 & 2 (base case) and 9 seats in a worst case scenario as per my estimates. This is not a bad performance by NDA by any standards. 38 seats means a gain of 15 seats from last assembly polls and double of what they were leading in LS polls. Even 35 means a gain of 12 seats from last assembly polls.

Party / Alliance Prediction Median Worst Best
NDA 35-43 39 35 43
Janata Alliance 37-45 41 45 37
Others 0-2 1 1 1
Total 81 81 81 81

The final tally in 2010 assembly polls was 141 for Janata alliance (JDU 115, RJD 22 & Congress 4). To win and be on the safe side NDA needs to reduce Gathbandhan tally to 100-110 seats. This means it has to snatch 31-41 seats from Janata alliance in 5 Phases. They needed to snatch 10-14 seats in Phase 1 proportionately, which they seem to have been able to do even in a worst case scenario of 35 seats. So NDA is on track.

I re-inforce my view point that this elections are very close and will go down to the last vote count. When I say close contest, people say that I am giving contradictory statements. This is because they are looking at the final tally only. Even a result of 143-100 in favour of NDA can be close elections, if the victory margins on majority of the seats is less than 3,00-5,000 votes.

Why would this elections be close?
• High number of candidates in every seat (average is 14 till Phase 3)
• Rebel candidates of both alliances, almost 1/3rd of the seats are witnessing serious rebels from either alliances
• High number of cross over candidates leaving the local cadre of parties un-enthused (BJP has given ticket to some ex JDU MLAs, RJD to LJP candidates and vice-a-versa)
• No clear favourite alliance of two important caste groups – MBCs and Koeris – accounting for 25% of population
• High pitch poll campaign

The various factors which would decide the winner of each seat are:
• Caste combination in the seat
• Anti-incumbency against sitting MLA
• Are there any rebel candidates?
• Are there cross-over candidates?
• How many candidates of the same caste are contesting?
• Are there any bahubalis contesting?
• Turnout

It’s a close contest and the ultimate winner will depend on whosever favour the above mentioned factors go. A good thing for NDA is that the vote share advantage of Janata alliance in the swing seats in Phase 3 is the lowest among the 3 phases at 5.9%. This is the phase where NDA can get a lead from Janata alliance in the race. Watch out for post poll update on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning…

Have a look at the seat by seat analysis and dynamics.

Have a look at the grand master sheet for Phase 3:

Want to know about Phase 3, have a look at the detailed overview.