"There is a sudden flurry of articles from commentators and pundits across the ideological spectrum about how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seemingly sure second term is now in jeopardy. The very same commentators, just three years back, waxed eloquent over the “invincibility of Mr Modi”. So, what has changed? Is a sudden wave of disenchantment with the Prime Minister sweeping the nation, or were the commentators just plain fooled in 2014?
The answer is a combination of both. But perhaps the more important answer is in the numbers that most commentators routinely fail to understand before spouting opinions and predictions about Indian elections.
I wrote an article on 21 May 2014 (five days after the results were announced) in the Business Standard titled ‘The Black Swan election’, where I argued that the 2014 electoral outcome is a complete outlier and unrepeatable. The phrase ‘Black Swan’ was popularised by mathematician Nassim Taleb to characterise extreme one-off events — “tail events” in mathematical terminology."
Read the full article here.