The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by two percentage points in terms of vote share but attracting middle-class voters remains a challenge, shows an internal survey by the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.
The survey does not talk about the number of seats the AAP is likely to win in the 70-member assembly when elections are held on February 7 after nearly a year of Central rule.
The AAP won 28 seats in the December 2013 poll and ran a minority government for 49 days with outside support from the Congress but the brief and controversy-ridden rule is like a millstone around its neck, especially with the middle-class that is upset over the party’s retreat.
The party has been using a campaign to reach out to upper-middle class voters — who constitute at least 17% of the city’s electorate of 13 million — to vote for it.
In the 2013 assembly election, the BJP’s vote share was 33%, followed by the AAP’s 29.4% and the Congress’s 24.5%, with no single party getting a majority.
The AAP has not taken its two-point advantage, in accordance with the survey, as a decisive lead this time around. “We need to be ahead by at least five percentage points to win comfortably. For the party, the challenge is to retain this upward trend through hard work among the people as we get closer to the election,” a party source said.
The party’s popularity has shown a distinct upswing over the past three months, says the survey conducted by a private firm under the supervision of senior leader and psephologist Yogendra Yadav.
The AAP has a clear lead in economically-backward and less-educated sections, slum clusters, unauthorised colonies, Dalits and Muslims, the survey says.
The survey shows the AAP improving its performance among rural voters. The party failed to win a single rural seat in the 2013 Delhi poll, a segment that can make or break its aspiration to get an absolute majority this election.
It shows the AAP gaining from a slide in the Congress vote share. People who supported the Congress in last year’s Lok Sabha election are now aligning with the AAP, the survey says.
The surveyors spoke to about 100 people, picked randomly from electoral rolls, in each of the 35 assembly constituencies selected for the survey.