Congress headed for a landslide victory in Delhi
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Congress headed for a landslide victory in Delhi

The opinion polls carried out by CSDS for Hindustan Times show BJP facing its worst-ever defeat in Delhi.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 11:24 IST

The Congress is probably headed for a victory bigger than the one it scored in Delhi in 1998. Results of a final round of opinion polls carried out by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) for the Hindustan Times show the BJP facing its worst-ever defeat in the Capital.

The results are in line with those of other surveys carried out in Delhi.

The HT-CSDS poll, carried out between November 21 and 25, shows a late swing in favour of the Congress, lifting its vote share past 50 per cent. Translated into seats, this could mean a haul of 58 for the Congress in the new assembly. The BJP is likely to get around 10 seats. Others may get two seats.

The sample was selected from the 14,000 randomly picked voters already interviewed during the first round of the survey carried out by CSDS for HT in September-October. This method of revisiting a part of a larger sample is known as a panel study, and is considered the most scientific way to track minute changes in the mind of the voter as an election gets closer.

The results of this round of the poll are broadly the same as those thrown up by the initial round. That round, the results of which were published in HT on October 20, gave the Congress a vote share of 48 per cent compared to the BJP's 31.

This round of polling has shown no change in the BJP's vote share. The Congress, on the other hand, has gained 3 percentage points. This also represents a swing of 3 per cent in favour of the Congress in comparison to 1998, when Sheila Dikshit's party got 47.8 per cent of the vote and 53 seats.

Voters' rating of Dikshit has improved in the six weeks since the last HT-CSDS survey. As many as 48 per cent of voters now want her back as CM, compared to the 28 per cent who said the same the last time. Her rival M.L. Khurana's rating too has improved from 17 per cent to 28, but the elimination of other candidates from the race has widened the gap between the two.

Is the Congress's projected success a result of the hype created by surveys that have been giving Delhi to it virtually on a platter?

The answer, as it emerges from the survey, is probably not. Only four of every 10 voters have heard of the survey results, and of them, a clear majority said it would not affect their choice on December 1. Some voters have shifted loyalties, but the percentage of those who have switched is roughly the same on either side.

Finally, what are the chances of the survey getting it wrong? Not much, as long as there is a reasonable turnout. A very poor turnout may, however, upset calculations.

The Predictions


As per response of 2,411 people surveyed in 384 localities in 69 of Delhi’s 70 constituencies

First Published: Nov 28, 2003 00:00 IST