One of the most sensible things the Election Commission has done is to ban exit polls. They were being misused quite blatantly to try and influence voters--the UP Assembly election of 2008 was a textbook case of partisan psephology.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon looking at some raw data of an exit poll of Phase 1 by one psephologist. I don't want to go into the numbers game because that is improper. However, there are some clear trends that I thought fit to share. These are not my conclusions but based entirely on the data of one pollster. Read it with interest but read it with caution too.
- The Congress is facing a complete rout in Telengana. The TRS-TDP combine is likely to make a clean sweep of the region. Chiranjeevi did well but not enough to win Lok Sabha seats.
- Lalu Prasad Yadav is quite beleaguered in Bihar but Congress has come to his partial assistance by weaning away some upper-caste support from the NDA.
- The BJP is doing spectacularly well in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
- The Congress is the principal beneficiary of a split in anti-Congress votes between the BJP and BJD in Orissa. Naveen Patnaik's gamble may not pay off unless he stages a dramatic recovery in coastal Orissa in Phase-2.
- UP remains a picture of fragmentation but the BJP appears to have performed remarkably well in Phase 1, dewspite low voting in the urban segments. The SP has suffered and the Congress is still not in a winning position. Mayawati is nNumber One in eastern UP.
- Kerala appears to have gone the UDF way conclusively.
These are trends as deduced from the exit polls. They are not the last word on the subject.