Jobs, water top voters’ priority list in Maharasthra, finds survey

Urban, rural respondents rate govt. performance below average

April 04, 2019 12:59 am | Updated 12:38 pm IST - Mumbai

For urban voters, the topmost priorities were better employment opportunities (48%), drinking water (43%) and traffic congestion (35%)

For urban voters, the topmost priorities were better employment opportunities (48%), drinking water (43%) and traffic congestion (35%)

Nearly half the voters in Maharashtra — 42.1% — rank better employment opportunities as the top priority for them when it comes to governance, followed by drinking water (37.53%) and agriculture loan availability (29%).

The findings are a part of the Maharashtra Survey Report 2018 conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and RA Asterisc Computing & Data Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (RAAC). The survey covered approximately 24,000 respondents across all 48 parliamentary constituencies of in the State between October and December 2018.

For urban voters, the topmost priorities were better employment opportunities (48%), drinking water (43%) and traffic congestion (35%), while in rural Maharashtra, the topmost priorities were agriculture loan availability (51%), availability of water for agriculture (49%) and higher price realisation of farm products (46%).

Both urban and rural voters, meanwhile, rated the government’s performance on these and other priority issues ‘below average’, scoring it between 2 and 3 on a scale of 1 to 5.

The survey covered 24,000 respondents across all 48 constituencies of Maharashtra. It analyses 10 most important governance issues as rated by the voters, out of 31 listed in the questionnaire.



Influencing factors

The survey also tried to analyse voting behaviour on parameters such as the factors influencing it, opinion regarding candidates with criminal records, and awareness regarding the role of crime and money in polls.

According to the survey, a majority of the respondents said the candidate concerned was the most significant reason for voting for him/her (Important: 59%, and Very important: 17%), followed by the candidate’s party (Important: 52% and Very important: 22%). Whether the name on the ballot was that of a chief ministerial candidate also had a significant impact on the voters’ decision (Important: 45%, Very important: 32%).

The respondents were also dismissive of cash, liquor or gift distribution playing much of a part in their choice of candidate, with only 12% rating it as an important factor, and 5 % as very important. Most of the voters (73%) were aware that such practices are illegal, while 40% said they were aware of instances where such inducements were offered to voters.


Criminal records

When it came to candidates with a criminal background, an overwhelming 98% said they should not be in Parliament or the Legislative Assembly. But 37% said that people choose such candidates because the person has otherwise done good work. Caste and religious considerations are a key factor for 36% voters in choosing candidates with criminal records.

While 35% voters said people pick criminal candidates because they feel that the cases against them are not of a serious nature. The same number of voters said the candidate being powerful was another key factor influencing the decision, and also that voters don’t know about the criminal record.

The report concluded, “The Maharashtra Survey Report 2018 points to the fact that voters’ priorities in Maharashtra have been neglected by the government in power. This is quite clear from the fact that the government has performed poorly and underwhelmingly on almost all top governance issues as rated by the voters.”

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