55% in Maharashtra & Haryana Want BJP Out But Lack Options: Survey
More than half the voters in poll-bound Maharashtra and Haryana want to vote out the incumbent state government, says a pre-poll survey conducted by CVoter along with ABP News. However, an overwhelming majority of respondents in both the states also said that the BJP is likely to win the Assembly elections anyway.
Unpopularity of State Governments, CMs and MLAs
According to the survey, 57.5 percent respondents in Haryana and 54.9 percent in Maharashtra replied “yes” when asked if they wanted to change the state government immediately. The number of people who responded in the negative was 41.6 percent in Haryana and 44.6 percent in Maharashtra.
Both states are currently ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The responses regarding the respective chief ministers was similar.
In Haryana 52.8 percent respondents said they wanted to change chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar immediately while 46.8 percent said they don’t want to change him. In Maharashtra, 54.5 percent respondents said they want to change CM Devendra Fadnavis against 44.7 percent who replied in the negative.
The unpopularity of MLAs was higher in Haryana and almost the same as that of the chief minister and state government in Maharashtra.
As many as 64 percent respondents in Haryana said that they wanted to change the local MLA, against 34.2 percent who said they didn’t want a change. In Maharashtra, the numbers were 54.7 percent and 43.1 percent respectively. Naturally this would affect the ruling party more.
Voters Feel BJP Will Win
The unpopularity of the MLAs, chief ministers and governments in both the states could have been a threat to the ruling BJP but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
According to the CVoter survey, nearly 60 percent of the respondents in Haryana said that the BJP will win the Assembly elections. Only 15.8 percent respondents said that Congress will win the polls. The JJP and INLD were nowhere in the picture.
In Maharashtra, the combined percentage of the people who replied that “BJP”, “Shiv Sena” or “BJP-Sena alliance” will win the Assembly elections is 65.9 percent. On the other hand, 22.9 percent replied either “Congress” or “NCP” or “Congress-NCP alliance”.
Remember, these are not voting intentions but merely the respondents’ view on who they think will will in their state.
The perception of BJP’s winnability changes a bit when respondents were asked who will win in their constituency. In Haryana, 52.5 percent respondents said that BJP is likely to win in their area, while 20.4 percent said the Congress is likely to win. 10.2 percent said it could be the JJP.
This indicates that in people’s perception, Congress and JJP seem to be competing better at the seat level than at the state level.
In Maharashtra, the picture is similar. The Congress, and more so the NCP, appears to be competing better at the seat-to-seat level.
According to the survey, 37.7 percent respondents said the BJP could win in their seat and 17.7 percent said it could be the Shiv Sena – a total of 55.4 percent.
On the Opposition side, 13.4 percent respondents said that Congress could win in their seat while 16.1 percent people said it could be the NCP – a total of 29.5 percent.
In Haryana, the BJP’s lead over the Congress in terms of perceived winnability is 44 percent at the state level and 32 percent at the seat level.
In Maharashtra, the BJP-Sena’s lead in perceived winnability is 43 percent at the state level and around 25 percent at the seat level.
This means that in both states, the Opposition is doing better in localised battles than the state-level battle.
Why Do People Think BJP Will Win Despite Unpopularity?
What explains this dichotomy that on one hand a majority of the respondents said they want the BJP out but yet they think that the party (along with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra) is coming back to power?
There are three reasons.
1. Ineffective Opposition
The survey reveals clear resentment against incumbent governments in both the states, but it appears that the Opposition hasn’t been able to capitalise on it.
One problem is that the Opposition doesn’t have a face to counter the two BJP chief ministers. According to the CSDS survey, 40.3 percent respondents in Haryana picked Manohar Lal Khattar as the best candidate to be the CM. Congress’ Bhupinder Singh Hooda and JJP’s Dushyant Chautala were far behind at 19.9 percent and 14.2 percent respectively.
In Maharashtra, the vacuum is even greater. 34.7 percent picked Devendra Fadnavis as the best candidate to be CM and no other leader could even reach double digits.
His closest competitors were NCP leaders Ajit Pawar at 7.6 percent and Sharad Pawar at 6.8 percent and MNS chief Raj Thackeray at 6 percent. No one from the Congress was there in the top five.
2. Opposition Doesn’t Have Solutions
The second aspect is that while people admit facing serious problems, most of them picked the BJP over the Opposition when asked which party can solve their problem.
In Haryana, 29.1 percent respondents said that the BJP can solve their problems in a better manner as opposed to 17.8 percent who picked the Congress. 36.6 percent voters said that no party can solve their problems or replied that they didn’t know. This indicates a significant degree of hopelessness.
In Maharashtra, 28.9 percent respondents said that the BJP has a better chance of solving their problems, as opposed to 13.9 percent who picked the Congress and 11.7 percent who picked the NCP. Interestingly, only 6.6 percent picked the BJP’s ally Shiv Sena. Like Haryana, nearly 33.6 percent respondents said either that no party can solve their problems or that they didn’t know.
3. PM Narendra Modi’s Popularity
The third factor that is working in the BJP’s favour in both the states is the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 71.6 percent respondents in Haryana and 65 percent in Maharashtra picked Modi as the best candidate for PM. No other candidate could cross even 10 percent.
Around 64 percent people in both states said that the Lok Sabha elections – which the BJP swept – will have a bearing on these elections as well.
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