How much is the AIADMK’s vote share? This question proved tricky for pollsters before the results were declared.

A pre-poll survey of India Today-Cicero estimated that the party’s vote share was 36 per cent, while a post-poll survey by CNN-IBN-CSDS-Lokniti and a pre-poll survey of Thanthi TV-Krish Infomedia gave the party 39 per cent. The forecast of NDTV-Hansa Research’s exit poll was that the AIADMK’s vote share was 48 per cent.

Given that the party contested on its own this time, some observers used the party’s performance in the 2004 Lok Sabha and 2006 Assembly elections as the reference point and reckoned that its vote share was around 30 per cent. The vote share secured by the AIADMK was 29.77 per cent in 2004 and 32.64 per cent two years later. The party contested most seats in both these elections though it had an pact with the BJP in 2004 and the MDMK and the VCK in 2006.

But, in the 2014 polls, the AIADMK proved most of the surveys wrong by bagging 44.34 per cent of the votes. Its performance came close to what it did in 1991. The ruling party’s all-time high in any election, Lok Sabha or Assembly, was 44.39 per cent in the 1991 Assembly polls. But the major difference between now and then was that this time, the party contested on its own, whereas it had an tie-up with the Congress 23 years ago. Not just that. Compared with what it polled in the 1991 Assembly elections, the AIADMK got 70 lakh more votes this time.

Moreover, the party’s latest performance was significant for one more reason as it set the record for the highest vote share in any general election since its maiden fight in 1977. The 2014 performance exceeded its previous high of 30.04 per cent in the 1977 Lok Sabha polls, though on a different electors base.

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