Do voters care about health?
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After employment, health is the second most important issue along with schools

February 23, 2023 12:15 am | Updated 12:08 pm IST

Relatively few people mention the provision of health services as main voting issues during elections, even after the pandemic. However, this does not mean that voters do not care about health at all. File

Relatively few people mention the provision of health services as main voting issues during elections, even after the pandemic. However, this does not mean that voters do not care about health at all. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

In India, the issues that occupy a crucial space in electoral campaigns have traditionally revolved around the subject of development. Past Lokniti-CSDS data show that the majority of voters identify development, inflation and unemployment as the main voting issues during elections, and relatively few people mention the provision of health services even after the pandemic.

However, this does not mean that voters do not care about health at all. We asked voters about the various issues that they thought were important for improving the level of development in their area. While 31% report jobs and employment to be the most important, health is the second most important issue along with schools at 17% (Table 1).

Further, when we asked voters about the biggest concern for their own family and household in the next five years, one in five people cited their own health or the health of a close family member. The biggest concern is employment (37%), but once again, education and health both emerge as issues of concern. (Table 2). This is particularly the case among older voters who are more concerned about health than younger people (29% versus 19%). By contrast younger people are more concerned about employment (46% versus 30%).

Health is also an issue that is of some electoral importance. Overall, more than half the respondents said health facilities affect their vote choice ‘to a great extent’ or ‘to some extent’ at local (56%), Assembly (61%) and national elections (57%) (Table 3).

Vibha Attri and Aaliyia Malik are researchers at Lokniti-CSDS

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