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ABP News-Lokniti-CSDS ‘Mood of the Nation Survey 2018’

BJP rides high on popularity, far ahead of rivals but may not get majority on its own

The Narendra Modi led government continues to ride high on its popularity, even as clear rumblings of discontent are visible below the surface. This is the strong message from the second round of the Mood of the Nation (MOTN) Survey conducted by ABP News-Lokniti-CSDS.

The survey has found that in the event of a snap Lok Sabha election in the country today, BJP lead NDA may get a total of 293-309 seats. This is about 30 seats less than what NDA actually won in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. In 2014 BJP alone won 282 seats leading the NDA which in total captured 336 seats. If NDA loses 30 seats out of 336 it won in 2014 elections, it means BJP alone may finish short of majority mark of 272.

The slight dip in the BJP’s popularity seems to be benefitting the Congress party the most, for now. UPA is expected to bag 122-132 seats if polls were held today. In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections UPA could only reach a figure of 59 with Congress winning 44 seats out of it. Clearly UPA seems to double it’s seat share in Lok Sabha if polls were held today.

According to the survey NDA’s performance is strongest in North India followed by western India. UPA is far behind NDA except in South India where it is getting almost double seats than NDA.

 

 

NDA

UPA

Others

North

151

106-116

10-16

24-30

East

142

68-76

15-21

48-56

South

132

31-37

59-67

32-38

West

118

79-89

30-36

0-2

All India

543

293-309

122-132

110-120

According to the MOTN Survey 2018, if an election had happened this month, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would have in all possibility secured 40% of the votes nationally and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (as it existed in 2014), 30%. The remaining 30% would have got distributed between parties like the BSP, SP, CPI, CPI (M), Trinamool Congress, AIADMK, BJD, JDS, TRS, AAP and other regional outfits.

BJP would in all likelihood secure about 34% of the total votes. While this estimated vote share is three percentage points higher than what the BJP had got in the Lok Sabha election of 2014, it is, quite significantly, five points less compared to May 2017, when round one of the MOTN Survey had found the ruling party to be netting 39% votes nationally. The BJP’s allies remain where they were eight months ago, securing 6% of the votes.

The Rahul Gandhi-led party is expected to secure the vote of one in every four Indians (25%) if a national election takes place now. This is an upward improvement compared to the May 2017 MOTN Survey when it was found to be receiving 21% votes nationwide. The Congress’s recovery is not surprising as the incumbency effect is finally catching up with the BJP and therefore, slowly, its vote share is reaching the same level as in 2014. Congress’s allies are expected to secure 5% of the votes, down a bit since May.

Note: BJP allies include: Shiv Sena (only in Maharashtra), Shiromani Akali Dal (only in Punjab), Telugu Desam Party, Lok Janshakti Party (only in Bihar), Janata Dal-United (only in Bihar), Bodoland People’s Front, Swabhimani Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Republican Party of India (A), Apna Dal, Hindustan Awam Morcha, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and All Jharkhand Students Union Party.

Congress allies include Rashtriya Janata Dal (only in Bihar and Jharkhand), Nationalist Congress Party (only in Maharashtra), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Puthiya Tamizhagam, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (only in Jharkhand), Indian Union Muslim League (only in Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Revolutionary Socialist Party (only in Kerala) and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi.

Narendra Modi is still people’s first choice for the post of Prime Minister

Prime Minister Modi’s own personal popularity has also declined in the last eight months, although he continues to be the most popular leader by quite a distance. In May 2017, 44% of the voters had wanted him to return as prime minister in the event of a snap election. Now, the same figure is down by 7 points to 37%. Modi’s popularity has in fact declined across all the four regions, with the drop being the sharpest in south India.

Narendra Modi’s biggest challenge at the moment seems to be coming from Congress President Rahul Gandhi whose popularity has gone up sharply across the country. Voters’ preference for Rahul Gandhi as the country’s next prime minister has more than doubled in the last eight months - from 9% to 20%. The sudden surge in Rahul’s popularity could well be largely an effect of his recent taking over as the President of the Congress party. It might be the case that now that he is heading the Congress, voters take him more seriously than they did earlier. The Congress’s fairly creditable performance in the recent Gujarat assembly elections might also partly explain the spike.

People’s Satisfaction with Modi Government’s performance has declined

The survey found satisfaction with the performance of the Modi government to have declined sharply in the last eight months. While in May 2017, close to two thirds of the voters nationwide had reported satisfaction with the NDA government’s work, the figure has now dropped by 13 points to a little over half.  Dissatisfaction has gone up form a little over one fourth to four of every ten, a rise of 13 percentage points. More significantly, the proportion of those fully dissatisfied with the government’s work is now greater than the proportion of those fully satisfied (17% as opposed to 10%). What should worry the BJP even more is that dissatisfaction with the Modi government’s performance has gone up in nearly all the States where the survey was conducted, barring one or two. For instance, while 12% of the voters in Rajasthan had been dissatisfied with the Central government’s performance back in May 2017, this has now gone up three times to 38%. In Uttar Pradesh, the figure of dissatisfaction has increased from 21% to 37%. The BJP may well still be the dominant party in many States at the moment in terms of voter preference, but these growing figures of disenchantment could spell trouble for the party in the months ahead.

Now more people believe Modi failed in bringing Achhe Din

Another indicator of people’s disappointment with the performance of the Modi government is their negative opinion on Achhe Din. Back in May, nearly two-thirds (63%) had said that Modi had succeeded in bringing Achhe Din. Eight months later, the figure has fallen to just four of every ten. There are in fact more people now who believe that Modi has failed in bringing Acche Din than those who think he has succeeded (50%-41%).

Employment is the biggest problem of the nation

For the second straight MOTN survey, most voters identified unemployment as being India’s biggest problem currently. In May 2017, 25% had thought so; now 27% think so. This belief that India’s biggest bane currently is lack of jobs is most strongly held in the northern states of the country - four of every ten respondents living in north India reported unemployment as being the country’s biggest problem as opposed to one in every four in east India, two of every ten in the western and central part, and less than one seventh in the south.

Demonetization is a hit among people

Though popularity of NDA Government lead by Modi has suffered a loss, demonetization which was implemented in November 2016 still has the support of the people of India. According to the MOTN Survey 2018, 48 percent people still believe demonetisation has been good for the economy of the nation. While 38 percent people think otherwise and 18 percent had no opinion about it.

Only one in three of the opinion that demonetization was bad for the economy

 

%

Demonetization was good for the economy

48

Demonetization was bad for the economy

34

No response

18

Source: MOTN Survey 2018

Question asked was: Has the demonetization decision proved to be good or bad for the economy? (Probe further whether fully or somewhat good or bad)

GST was a hasty decision

But is case of GST Modi Government seems to lack in achieving people’s vote. MOTN Survey 2018 says 42 percent  people believe it was a decision introduced in hasty manner without careful consideration. 27 percent people think Modi Government introduced GST after much thinking and considerations.

Most believe that GST was introduced in a hasty manner without careful consideration

 

%

GST introduced after careful consideration

27

GST introduced in haste

42

No response

31

Source: MOTN Survey 2018

Question asked was: Was GST introduced after careful consideration or in haste?

BJP slippery on Mamata’s ground

BJP’s efforts to expand base in the states where it did not perform good in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections seems getting no results at least in West Bengal. In May 2017 MOTN Survey 29 percent voters intended to vote for BJP in a situation of snap polls. This figure has now come down to 23 percent. While BJP’s all main opponents in the state i.e. TMC, Congress and Left are expected to gain against May 2017 MOTN Survey.

Voting intention in West Bengal in the event of a snap Lok Sabha election

 

May 2017

%

January 2018

%

Congress

9

11

BJP

29

23

AITC

37

42

Left

19

20

Others

6

4

Source: Mood of the Nation Surveys, 2017 and 2018 conducted in West Bengal by Lokniti-CSDS

Sample size in 2017 – 853; Sample size in 2018 - 1138

PM Narendra Modi’s popularity in West Bengal is also getting a hit according to MOTN Survey 2018. While in May 2017 Survey Modi was Prime Ministerial Choice of 42 percent people. But in 2018 survey only 26 percent people see him as their choice for Prime Minister. Mamata Banerjee’s popularity has more than doubled since the last survey. Even Rahul Gandhi has gained here.

Prime Ministerial Choice in West Bengal

 

May 2017

%

January 2018

%

Rahul Gandhi

2

7

Narendra Modi

42

26

Mamata Banerjee

13

29

Any other leader

11

11

No response

32

27

Question asked: If Lok Sabha elections are held in the country tomorrow, who would you prefer to see as the Prime Minister of the country?

First in Maharashtra but losing support

BJP is still the first choice of people of Maharashtra in the scenario of snap Lok Sabha Polls. But it has suffered loss here also against the MOTN Survey of May 2017. In the last survey 38 percent people of Maharashtra intended to vote for BJP. But according to the latest survey 31 percent people will vote for BJP if polls were held today. BJP’s loss in Maharashtra has been cashed in majorly by Congress which is gaining support of 6 percent more people than the last survey.

Voting intention in Maharashtra in the event of a snap Lok Sabha election

 

May 2017

%

January 2018

%

Congress

18

24

NCP

13

15

BJP

38

31

SHS+

16

19

Others

15

11

Source: Mood of the Nation Surveys, 2017 and 2018 in Mahrashtra by Lokniti-CSDS.

Sample size in 2017 – 1090; Sample size in 2018 - 1314

BJP still strong in Gujarat, but challenges ahead

BJP’s fort in Gujarat which got damaged a bit in last assembly elections still causes worry for the party. BJP is losing support in Gujarat also from where it won all Lok Sabha seats in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. 7 percent people who intended to vote for BJP in May 2017 now do not wish to support them. In Gujarat also BJP’s loss is majorly gain of Congress which is expected to get support of 35 percent people in case of snap polls according to the latest survey.

Voting intention in Gujarat in the event of a snap Lok Sabha election

 

May 2017

%

January 2018

%

Congress

30

35

BJP

61

54

Others

9

11

Source: Mood of the Nation Surveys, 2017 and 2018, in Gujarat by Lokniti-CSDS.

Sample size in 2017 - 599; Sample size in 2018 - 729

The second round of the Mood of the Nation Survey was conducted by Lokniti, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi for ABP News between January 7 and January 20, 2018 among 14,336 respondents spread across 19 States of India.

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