CSDS-Lokniti 2024 pre-poll survey | Do voters think that present govt. should get another opportunity?

A straightforward answer is that at the time of this pre-poll, a majority of respondents were willing to ‘give another chance’ to the Modi government.

Updated - April 13, 2024 08:45 am IST

Published - April 13, 2024 05:50 am IST

BJP supporters during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting in Rishikesh on April 11, 2024.

BJP supporters during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting in Rishikesh on April 11, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

While the ultimate assessment of a government by the citizens is through the proverbial ballot box (now the voting machine), there are a few clues that tell us in advance what the voter is thinking of the incumbent government. Two such clues are voter satisfaction with the government and willingness to have the incumbent re-elected. Do voters want this government to be back?

A straightforward answer is that at the time of this pre-poll, a majority of respondents were willing to ‘give another chance’ to the Modi government. For a government seeking a third term, this is an important achievement. However, this willingness to re-elect is somewhat constrained by the fact that there is an equally substantial proportion of the respondents who are not willing to concede another chance to this government. As against 44% who want this government to be re-elected, 39% do not want the government to be re-elected. This gap being rather narrow, the cushion for the BJP is somewhat precarious. Should a chunk of those who are endorsing re-election at the present juncture move away or lose their enthusiasm to re-elect the BJP, that could have adverse consequences for the BJP.

Table 1 puts the present finding in perspective by reporting similar sentiments for different governments of the past two decades. Barring the enigmatic discrepancy between willingness to re-elect and the actual outcome in 2004, for other elections, we find that a robust willingness or a firm unwillingness correspond neatly with the outcome of the election. It remains to be observed if the Modi government too follows this pattern.

Specific and concrete

When asked as to why the Modi government should be re-elected, respondents do not have a very concrete answer. The majority of the responses simply appreciate the good work done by the government as the reason for their support. We might call this the goodwill factor. For a variety of reasons, the government has earned the goodwill of the voters and that might stand in good stead for the ruling party at the polls. However, two notable reasons that voters mentioned are welfare schemes and Modi’s leadership (Table 2).

In contrast, for those who do not want this government to be back, the reasons are quite specific and concrete (Table 3). If we combine the inter-related reasons that constitute broadly a disapproval of the government’s economic policies and their outcomes, it can be seen that two in every three respondents not wanting this government back make a reference to the economy. This connects with the findings reported on the first day of this series when we pointed out that respondents reported economic hardships quite prominently. In our reports, we have drawn attention also to the class factor being relevant in shaping public attitudes and preferences. This is reflected quite clearly. 

Finally, who are the respondents not favourably disposed to re-election of the government? The city and town dwellers are more likely to deny another chance to this government; similarly, respondents from less well-to-do economic backgrounds — those except the upper class — are more likely to say that this government should not get another chance. Predictably, the upper castes are most numerous in their endorsement of re-election (only one-third of the upper castes say that this government should not get another chance). But it must be said that those wanting to deny another chance to the government do not have a very sharp social profile — something that might insulate the government from a possible fallout of the negative opinion on the issue of re-election.

Suhas Palshikar is chief editor of Studies in Indian Politics

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.