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Opinion poll: BJP likely to sweep Gujarat assembly elections

According to the poll conducted in Gujarat by Lokniti-CSDS for ABP News, Vijay Rupani is the most preferred CM candidate. The Congress seems to be failing in presenting a solid fight against BJP

An opinion poll conducted by Lokniti-CSDS for ABP News has found that the ruling BJP, which has been in power in Gujarat for the last two decades, to be way ahead of the Congress at the current moment. The BJP seems to have gained over the last assembly elections held in 2012 under the leadership of then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Like in other parts of India, the Congress is losing out base in Gujarat as well. According to the opinion poll, the BJP is expected to get nearly 150 seats in 182-member assembly.

As things stand right now, the upcoming election of Gujarat appears like a ‘no-contest’ with the BJP leading its arch-rival by over 30 percentage points in terms of people’s voting intention, the opinion poll says. Close to three in every five (59%) randomly sampled voters said that they would vote for the BJP if the state elections were to take place now. Only about one in three (29%) were found to be rooting for the Congress. This means that the BJP has thus far managed to retain the level of support it received in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and the Congress has slid down further.

According to the poll, a BJP sweep is predicted all over Gujarat and in all regions of the state. The best performance is in Saurashtra and Kutch regions where the BJP is expected to get 65 per cent votes against Congress’s 26 per cent votes.

(*Source: Lokniti-CSDS Gujarat Pre-election Tracker Survey 2017, Round 1)

In fact, at the moment there seems to be no major challenger to Vijay Rupani for the position of chief minister within or outside the BJP and he leads the chief ministerial race by a wide margin. In response to an open ended question on the chief ministerial preference, 24 per cent of the voters said they would like to see Rupani back at the helm whereas per cent of voters took no name.

The survey found a sentiment of pro-incumbency to be prevailing in Gujarat as of now. In Kutch and Saurashtra, about 54 per cent feel the present BJP government should continue.

Contrary to popular analysis, the recent agitation by some Patel leaders demanding OBC status does not seem to have negatively impacted the BJP’s popularity among its staunchest voters, the Patels, with nearly three in every four voters belonging to the dominant community still supporting the party. Other than holding on to its core voters, the BJP seems to have also made some serious inroads among the old voting bloc of the Congress – Kshatriyas, Dalits, Tribals and Muslims – politically known as KHAM.

Voting intentions of castes and communities at the moment: BJP consolidates base and makes gains

Caste-community

Voting behaviour at present

Upper castes

Very strongly with BJP

Patels

Very strongly with BJP

Kshatriya

Strongly with BJP

Kolis

Very Strongly with BJP

Other OBCs

Strongly with BJP

Dalits

With Congress but BJP has made major inroads

Tribals

With BJP, used to be with Cong till 2014

Muslims

With Congress, but BJP making inroads

 

About 70 per cent of the voters said they were satisfied with the performance of the State BJP government during the last five years. Though as the survey suggests, the percentage of satisfied respondents is high although it has dropped from 77 per cent to 69 per cent somewhat since the last survey in May.

According to the survey, Prime Minister Modi’s already high popularity in the State has grown further over the last four years. In the state he ruled for three terms, he is the most liked leader at 82 per cent, followed by ruling CM Rupani at 73 per cent. The star of the Patidar andolan, Hardik Patel is the most disliked at 46 per cent.

As per the survey, one in every five Congress voters sympathises with Vaghela and nearly half refused to take a position on the Vaghela issue. Around 20 per cent Congress voters believe he rightly moved out of the party which disrespected him. Whereas 34 per cent voters of Congress feel that he betrayed the party just before the polls.

According to the survey, most voters were found to be highly supportive of both demonetisation (55 per cent) and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST - 38 per cent), and also quite satisfied with the way they were implemented.

This analysis is based on the first round of the pre-election tracker survey conducted in Gujarat by Lokniti, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, for ABP News.

The survey was conducted from August 9 through August 16, 2017 among 4090 voters in 200 locations (polling stations) spread across 50 assembly constituencies (the State has a total of 182 assembly constituencies).

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