An opinion survey conducted by VETO for Times Now Navbharat has predicted a comfortable return to power for the BJP in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is projected to win between 230 and 249 seats out of 403, followed by the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP), which is expected to finish at a distant second with 137-152 seats, as per the Times Now Navbharat-VETO Opinion Poll.
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is projected to finish third, while the Congress party that has made Priyanka Gandhi its face of the poll campaign is expected to win four to seven seats.
The survey has also found that the majority feels that the BJP's image has tarnished following the second wave of COVID-19 and the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
BJP to Get 38.8% Votes, Yogi Voted Favourite CM Face
While the BJP is expected to win 38.8 percent of the votes, the Samajwadi Party is projected to garner 34.4 percent of the votes in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
The BSP, Congress, and other parties are expected to gather 14.1 percent, 6.1 percent, and 6.8 percent of the votes respectively.
Further, Yogi Adityanath was the favoured chief ministerial candidate for 52 percent of the respondents, followed by Akhilesh Yadav (32 percent), Mayawati (13 percent), and Priyanka Gandhi (2.2 percent).
If the projections turn out to be accurate, Yogi Adityanath will become the first chief minister in Uttar Pradesh to serve two consecutive terms since 1985.
The opinion poll was conducted between 16-30 December, with a sample size of 21,480. The margin of error for the data is 3 percent with a confidence interval of 95 percent.
Only 51% Satisfied With Yogi's Work in UP
Merely 51 percent of the respondents of the survey reported they were satisfied with incumbent CM's work. This ties up with the percentage of those who favour Adityanath as the CM face (52 percent).
34 percent of the surveyed said that they were not satisfied with Adityanath's work, while 15 percent said they could not say.
The work of state development came next, at 34 percent, while the management of the coronavirus pandemic was believed to be the biggest achievement by merely 12 percent.
Forty-seven percent of the respondents indicated that the biggest accomplishment of the Adityanath-led government was the betterment of the law and order situation.
Image of the BJP Govt Sees Decline After 2nd COVID Wave, 73% Say
As many as 73 percent of those surveyed opined that the image of the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government had suffered a decline after the second, devastating wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in April-May 2021.
While 13 percent disagreed, 14 percent remained on the fence.
In addition, while 33 percent of the respondents felt that COVID deaths were a poll issue in UP, 31 percent of those surveyed disagreed.
Did the Lakhimpur Incident Cause Harm to BJP's Image? 55% Say Yes
As many as 55 percent of those surveyed opined that the Lakhimpur Kheri incident of 3 October, wherein four farmers had lost their lives after being mowed over by a car owned by the son of a BJP minister, had tarnished the party's image.
While 11 percent disagreed, 34 percent said that nothing could be said.
Further, 39 percent of the respondents said that the farmers' protest would have an impact on the poll results, while 52 percent said they would not.
In addition, 48 percent of those surveyed felt that the Yogi Adityanath-led government was a sympathiser of farmers, while 37 percent disagreed.
'Which is the Favoured Party of Muslims in UP?'
In this respect, the votes for the more right-wing BJP sank to a dismal 3 percent, while the 'socialist' Samajwadi Party garnered more than half the votes at 51 percent.
The BSP received 17 percent of the votes, while the Congress secured merely 8 percent.
Further, 24 percent opined that religion was the main issue for polls in Uttar Pradesh. While 28 percent said that the primary poll issue was employment, 16 percent said it was development, and 32 percent said it was law and order.
It is also to pertinent to note that the opinion poll projected that BJP was the first choice for 56 percent of those belonging to the OBC category, and 52 percent of the youth.
While the party is also expected to garner 38 percent of the votes from women, Samajwadi Party comes a close second with 31 percent of women's votes.
The opinion poll, while endorsing the ‘double-engine sarkar,’ did suggest that BJP needed to cover more ground to completely win over the electorate.