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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Honest candidate influenced choice in last polls'

Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, March 18, 2014
First Published: 17:21 IST(18/3/2014) | Last Updated: 17:24 IST(18/3/2014)

A baseline survey of knowledge, attitude, behaviour, belief and practices of electors in Chandigarh reveal that honesty and commitment of the candidate influences the choice of electors in the elections.

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The survey conducted by assistant professors Sunil Bansal and Madan Mohan Singh of the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) for the Election Commission of India (ECI) reveals that in the last parliamentary elections in 2009, the choice of candidate was mainly influenced by honesty of the candidate (38.9%), followed by commitment of the candidate (25.8%), experience (14%) and candidate's personal rapport (1.5%).

Other factors like good governance, education, party manifesto, development works and better awareness influenced 17% of the sample electorate.

There were 14.4% sample electorates having eligible family members, who did not vote in the last elections. The reasons for not voting were: not having electoral photo ID cards (54.9%), not enrolled in electoral rolls (47.5%), no good candidate (3%), long queues (3%) and no faith in political system (2.5%).

The most influencing factor affecting the voting preference in UT of Chandigarh was the "candidate" as reported by 67.7% of the sample electorates, ahead of other factors like family, caste, religion and local community leaders. 

Nearly 17.2% of the sample electorates reported to have family members in 18 years and above age group who had not registered as voter at the time of survey in June 2013.
 
Reasons for not registering
The reasons for not registering as voters by those above 18 were: person had just turned 18 (38.4%), lack of interest in registering the family members aged 18+ (24%), lack of awareness (16.9%), lack of valid documents (12.8%), not a permanent resident (9.9%) and lengthy (difficult) procedure (3.7%).
 
Factors affecting high turnout
A majority of the electors (53.6%) reported that good candidate was the influencing factor for high turnout in general. The high turnout was also reported to be influenced by money power (25.8%), muscle power (4.9%) and both money and muscle power (8.0%).

Good governance, education, new voters and awareness were also reported as factors for high turnout by 48.6% of the sample electorates.

The proportion of sample electorates reporting money power as well as muscle power as influencing factors was higher in slums than other areas of Chandigarh.
 
Motivating icons
More than half (53.2%) of the sample electorates had seen the ECI advertisement or campaign with stars motivating voters. Out of the sample electorates who had seen ECI advertisement or campaign, the most appealing/motivating icons/star are:

MS Dhoni: 21.7%
APJ Abdul Kalam: 20.9%
Saina Nehwal: 0.5%
Mary Kom: 8.6%

About the study
The study is based on a sample of 1,403 individual electors in Chandigarh; out of which 50 were from rural areas; 182 from slums and the remaining 1,171 from urban areas. These electors were selected from 31 polling booths out of total 449 polling booths at the time of the survey. The sample booths were selected through random sampling from the list of booths provided by the chief electoral officer of Chandigarh.

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