Rajeeva Karandikar is mathematician, probabilist, psephologist, and the Director of Chennai Mathematical Institute in India. In the wake of the British general election he talks about the power and limitations of opinion polls.
Can surveying 1200 electors really determine the mood of 50 million? Our guest explains why it is the sample size that determines the accuracy and not the sampling fraction. He also discusses the technique of estimating seats in the parliament, for example in the UK or India, or the electoral college votes as in US, based on surveys. Here the the political understanding helps one choose an appropriate statistical model.