Incumbency effect catching up with BJP, shows survey
The BJP’s 2017 Uttar Pradesh victory might have signified the peak of the Narendra Modi government’s popularity, according to a Lokniti-CSDS-ABP Mood of the Nation (MOTN) survey conducted this month. The BJP’s expected vote share in 2019 Lok Sabha elections has come down by 5 percentage points between May 2017 and January 2018. The Congress seems to be the main beneficiary of this, the survey indicated.
These headwinds however, are too weak to dislodge the NDA from power. The BJP and its allies are expected to get 40% vote share in the 2019 general elections, 10 percentage points more than the Congress and its allies. Disunity in opposition is likely to make the NDA’s road to power easier, said the survey, which was conducted among more than 14,000 respondents across 19 major states.
A region-wise analysis shows that the Congress coalition is ahead of the BJP only in the south. However, it has managed to reduce its trail vis-à-vis the BJP in all regions except the east.
Occupation-wise, the BJP has suffered the biggest dent in support among farmers and traders. Both farmers and non-farmers believe that the United Progressive Alliance government performed better in addressing problems of farmers. This supports the rural discontent narrative that played a role in the recent Gujarat assembly elections. However, the BJP and its allies still enjoy a seven percentage point lead over the Congress among farmers.
Anxiety about lack of jobs has also increased between the two MOTN surveys – the one conducted this month and the one conducted last May. This has been accompanied by a nine percentage point decline in the BJP’s support among 18- to 25-year-olds.
BJP has the biggest lead of 15 percentage points over the Congress among the upper classes. It reduces as one goes down the economic ladder, coming down to just seven percentage points among the poor.
The survey also suggests strong headwinds in two big states slated for assembly elections this year. Dissatisfaction vis-à-vis the performance of Modi government has increased by 26 and 20 percentage points respectively in Rajasthan and Karnataka.
While the survey does not predict any radical change in the political situation post-2019, it does note that the nature of “future political competition” is becoming “interesting to say the least”.
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