Is the mood of the nation turning against the ‘popular’ Prime Minster Narendra Modi and the NDA government helmed by him? Yes and No, states a recent poll conducted across the country. Though there has been a slight drop, people still believe that Modi is the best choice for the top post
As the BJP led NDA government inches towards completing its fourth year in power, it continues to the most preferred political option, though its popularity has dipped quite considerably in the last one year. The CSDS-Lokniti Mood of the Nation Poll conducted in the second week of January 2018, indicates that if Lok Sabha elections were to be held now, the BJP in particular and the NDA in general appears to by and large retain the vote percentage that they won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. This constitutes a dip from the high levels of popularity it had achieved in a similar Mood of the National Poll done a year ago.
Conducted in 19 states and spread over 175 Lok Sabha constituencies, covering over 700 polling stations, the Mood of the Nation Survey involved face-to-face interviews with over 14,000 respondents chosen through a multi stage random sampling technique. A study of the social-economic profile of the sample indicates that it conforms to the larger demographic profile as indicated by the latest census.
The popularity of the BJP has dropped by five percentage points compared to a year ago and the principal gainer has been the Congress whose vote share in the survey rose by three percentage points with state based parties too seeing a marginal rise in support. More importantly, the serious dip in popularity (eight percentage points) is in West, Central and South India, with the dip in the Northern states, less sharp at five percentage points.
The Congress party has made significant gains in small towns and cities while the BJP continues to remain popular in the big cities. Interestingly, the sharpest decline in support for the BJP is among farmers and traders. While the youth continue to support the BJP, there is a significant dip in the support of the younger generation over the last one year. When asked to compare the conditions of farmers under the UPA and the NDA, more people felt that the UPA did a better job than the NDA.
Just over half the respondents were satisfied with the performance of the Narendra Modi led government. This marks a sharp decline as a year ago, two thirds of respondents were satisfied with the performance of the government.
This decline in satisfaction is not necessarily manifest in any one state or region but is across the country and in most of the large states of the country. If one were to delineate the specific area of discontent it is clear that price rise has been the most critical factor. There are high levels of unhappiness with the government’s track record on job creation. More than half the respondents felt that the government has done a ‘bad job’ in controlling price rise. Half the respondents felt that the promise of ‘Good Days’ (Acche Din) has not been realized.
In the leadership sweepstakes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be ahead of his political rival with over one-thirds of the respondents mentioning his name as their preferred Prime Ministerial choice while one of every five, mentioned the name of Rahul Gandhi. It is important to record that a year ago, for over four of every ten respondents, Modi was the favoured choice and less than one in every ten mentioned the name of Rahul Gandhi . In a sense what has happened in the Prime Minister's case is that his popularity has returned to the levels around the time of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, after peaking a year ago. Rahul Gandhi’s popularity has doubled compared to a year ago and he is ahead of Narendra Modi in South India.
It must be conceded that the Congress President seems to be an extremely polarizing figure as a more or less equal number are ranged in support and opposition to him, when assessing his competency as a leader. It is also interesting that non-BJP and non-Congress voters have a more positive attitude towards his leadership competency.
Thus the Mood of the Nation Survey indicates that as one commences 2018, there is some rise in discontent with the performance of the BJP led NDA. Much of the disquiet is linked to rural distress, lack of employment opportunities and price rise. These were all important poll promises made by the BJP when it came to power in 2014. The saving grace for the BJP is that its leadership continues to remain popular, way ahead of the Congress President. The way the elections in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan pan out in this year, will clearly decide and define the battlelines of the next Lok Sabha elections.
Note from Kannada.Club :
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