How Twitter Polls Are Going Horribly Wrong For Narendra Modi & BJP
For many years, BJP and its supporters used to dominate the political battlefield on Twitter. But of late, the party seems to be facing backlash on the microblogging platform. Anti-BJP hashtags trend nationally almost on a daily basis, sometimes more than one hashtag at a given point of time. Additionally, a number of right-wing handles have been suspended by Twitter Support for allegedly posting abusive content.
BJP supporters even ran a hashtag #ProtestAgainstTwitter to express their anger at the banning of these handles. Protests were held offline as well and this is said to have prompted the government to take cognisance of the matter and issue summons to Twitter officials to “explain their bias.”
Besides the anti-BJP hashtags like #GoBackModi, the BJP is also facing reverses in Twitter polls. Polls conducted on Twitter aren’t reliable indicators of public opinion as the results depend heavily on the kind of followers the handle posting the polls has.
What is worrying for the BJP is that it is doing badly even in the Twitter polls conducted by its own supporters.
For instance, take this poll conducted by film director Vivek Agnihotri.
Now, Agnihotri is a known favourite of pro-BJP Twitter users who would naturally form a majority of his 1.4 lakh Twitter followers. Yet, the results of Agnihotri’s polls went against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ended up validating Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The same pattern was seen in polls conducted by Times Now, which is seen as a pro-BJP news channel.
If Times Now’s polls met this fate, how can Republic be far behind?
While we should take Twitter polls with a pinch of salt, they might give us some important insights. According to C-Voter founder Yashwant Deshmukh, the social media universe is disproportionately pro-BJP and the offline reality could in fact be worse for the party than what Twitter reflects.
So, two things are possible here. At the very least, these polls suggest that the Opposition has gained an advantage over the BJP as far as the social media game is concerned. But the second, more worrying, possibility for the BJP is that the polls reflect offline anger against the party.