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Delhi knows it's poll time

According to HT-CSDS survey, 79% of the electorate is aware that it will vote for a new assembly on Dec 1 and most voters know their MLAs.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2003 03:33 IST

Checkout for details
The HT-CSDS Delhi Survey 2003 will be the largest and most ambitious survey of the political behaviour, opinions and attitudes of citizens of any city in India
Methodology of the HT-CSDS Delhi poll survey
How MLAs have been graded
Cong set to come back to power in Delhi: HT poll
BJP loses ground, all around

Election day is now a little less than six weeks away, but the poll fever is yet to catch on. Barring Madan Lal Khurana’s Parivartan Yatra and the Congress’s August Kranti rallies, campaigning has been basically low-key. It’s a good time to take stock of poll awareness in the city: What percentage of voters actually knows that there’s an election on? What percentage knows its MLA, and his/her party?

The HT-CSDS Survey, the results of which you’ve been reading in the Hindustan Times, was begun in September. We have conducted 11,959 interviews so far, and are very close to the sample size of the survey we carried out before the 1998 elections. As of now, 79 per cent of Delhi’s electorate is aware that it will vote for a new assembly on December 1. A majority of voters knows its MLAs and the party he/she belongs to.

But this political awareness is not spread uniformly across the electorate. This is to be expected — those who have better access to the media are more aware of the coming polls than those who have less exposure to newspapers and television. It is also not surprising that the rich and educated are more aware than the poor and uneducated.

People classified as ‘very poor’ and ‘poor’ in the Survey make up 35 per cent of Delhi’s voters; those classified as ‘very rich’ and ‘rich’ constitute 18 per cent. Eighty-seven per cent of the people in the latter two categories know about the election; only 71 per cent of the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ do.

BJP voters are more aware. Eighty-four per cent say they know there’s an election approaching. Only 77 per cent of Congress voters say they do.

Overall, Delhi appears to be slightly more aware of (and possibly, more interested in) the polls this year than it was five years ago. In the HT-CSDS survey carried out when the 1998 elections were about a month-and-a-half away, 59 per cent of respondents had said they knew their MLA. Sixty-seven per cent knew to which party he/she belonged. The corresponding figures for mid-October 2003 are slightly higher: 65 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.

The increase in awareness levels is seen among nearly all social sections. The rise in the levels of political awareness among the uneducated and poor voters is particularly significant.

But the educated voters and rich voters seem to have slipped on one issue: awareness of the political party to which their MLA belongs.


Do you know your MLAs?

Six weeks before the 1998 elections, 81 per cent of educated voters and 74 per cent of the rich were aware of the political affiliations of their MLAs. The corresponding figures for October 2003 are 75 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.

First Published: Oct 23, 2003 01:52 IST