The Hindu CSDS-Lokniti Post-Poll Survey 2021

West Bengal Assembly Elections | Longest elections did not help BJP

BJP supporters from Gazole constituency during an election campaign for West Bengal Assembly Polls in Malda district, Thursday, April 21, 2021   | Photo Credit: PTI

The eight-phase elections in West Bengal that went on for four-and-a-half weeks have been described as the longest State elections India has ever seen. The post-poll survey data suggest that this probably did not help the BJP in what is known as micro-management.

image/svg+xml When did you fnally make up your mind about whom to vote for? How they voted AITC BJP Decided last minute/eve of polls (24%) 54 33 During campaign/after candidates declared (25%) 49 37 Before campaign (46%) 44 42 No response (5%) 50 36 Overall 48 38 Note: Figures are percentages, the rest of the voters voted for other parties and candidates. Table 1: AITC stole a march over the BJP among late deciders. Was it due to Mamata injury, BJP’s ‘campaign’, Sitalkuchi, Covid - the jury is out

In overall terms, as many as 24% or one in every four voters of West Bengal decided who they are going to vote for at the very last minute or a day or two before Voting Day, and among such voters, it was the Trinamool Congress and not the BJP that did exceedingly well. While the ruling party secured 54% of its vote, the BJP was way behind at 33% (Table 1). Any attempt by the BJP to turn things around at the last minute through targeted campaigning did not seem to have worked.

image/svg+xml Phase Late & campaign time deciders (%) How they voted AITC BJP Phase 1 52 47 39 Phase 2 40 50 43 Phase 3 45 45 43 Phase 4 56 56 27 Phase 5 43 53 39 Phase 6 45 51 32 Phase 7 51 47 35 Phase 8 63 58 31 Table 2: Trinamool had a consistent advantage over the BJP among late and campaign time deciders across all phases

It was not just among the late deciders, but even among the campaign-time deciders (those who decided their vote choice during the campaign or after the announcement of candidates) the Trinamool again enjoyed a sizeable advantage over the BJP. The ruling party secured 49% votes of such voters whereas the BJP was a good 12 percentage points behind at 37%. This finding is particularly significant when compared with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Back then, the BJP had stolen a march over the Trinamool precisely among this segment of campaign-time deciders, enjoying a two percentage point vote lead.

The only category of voters among whom the BJP managed to put up somewhat of a fight this time were the before campaign deciders. Forty six per cent respondents had actually made up their mind early. Among them, 42% said they voted for the BJP as against 44% for the Trinamool. Significantly, the overall pattern of late and campaign-time deciders giving the Trinamool an advantage over the BJP does not change when we break down the voting preferences data of late and campaign-time deciders by Phases (Table 2).

(The author is a Research Associate at Lokniti-CSDS, Delhi.)

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:22:37 AM |

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