Pre Poll Survey OUT: Majority says, economic situation as ‘average’ or ‘bad’ but…

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Pre Poll Survey OUT: Majority says, economic situation as ‘average’ or ‘bad’ but...
Pre Poll Survey OUT: Majority says, economic situation as ‘average’ or ‘bad’ but...

Unemployment has been reported by respondents as a key economic concern in the CSDS-Lokniti-The Hindu-Tiranga TV-Dainik Bhaskar Pre-Poll Survey in 19 States between March 24 and 31, reflecting the indications of an economic slowdown and farm distress across the country.

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On the assessment of the state of the economy, 33% of the respondents rated it as “so-so” and 25% rated it as “bad,” while 34% termed it “good” or “very good.” The 34% number is up from 26% in January 2018 and is also much higher than the 19% who described the economy to be in good shape in May 2014 before the Narendra Modi government came to power.

While two in every three of those who see the economy as being in a good situation were found to be in favour of giving the BJP government another term, this reduced to 46% among those who rated the economic situation “so-so.”

But only 36% among the latter did not favour the regime to return to power.

Opinion on country’s present economic condition – a greater proportion views it as being good than bad

The present economic situation of the country is….. Pre-poll 2019 (%)
Very good 11
Good 23
So-so 33
Bad 16
Very bad 9
No response 8

Question: Overall, how would you rate the economic situation of the country at the moment – is it very good, good, so-so, bad or very bad?
N size= 10,010

Over half of the respondents reported that they found it difficult to make both ends meet with their total household income, but this number has reduced from two-thirds of the respondents in the Lokniti survey in May 2018.

In May last year, one-fourth of respondents had found their income to be insufficient to make ends meet; this proportion has now dropped to one-fifth

Pre-poll 2019 (%) May 2018 (%) Jan 2018 (%)
Able to fulfill all our needs & also end up saving some money 15 9 13
Able to fulfill all our needs but don’t end up saving 31 24 34
Not able to fulfill all our needs and face some difficulty 33 40 39
Not able to fulfill our needs and face a lot of difficulty 18 27 14
No response 3 <1 <1

‘Number of jobs down’

When the respondents were asked whether employment opportunities under the Modi government had increased or decreased during the last five years, close to half (46%) said they had gone down and one in every four (25%) were of the opinion that they had increased. In May 2014, one-third (33%) had reported a decrease in employment opportunities under the UPA and one-fifth (19%) had reported an increase.

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NDA rated worse than UPA on the jobs front

Employment opportunities under BJP-NDA’s rule at the Centre have… Pre-poll 2019 (under NDA govt) (%) May 2014 (under UPA govt) (%)
Increased 25 19
Decreased 46 33
Remained same 21 34
No response 8 14

In net terms, the NDA fares worse than the UPA on the jobs front. Job-related anxiety was found to be greatest among the young and college educated voters. Whereas 47% of the respondents reported finding a job in their area to be more difficult during the last 3-4 years, among the young voters aged between 18-35 years it was found to be three points higher at 50% and among the college educated voters, a further three percentage points higher, at 53%.

Youth and college-educated respondents more likely to report job related anxiety

More difficult to find a job in my area (%) Less difficult (%) Remained same (%)
Region
North 46 19 24
East 46 20 22
South 44 23 20
West-Central 51 18 18
Age groups
Youth (18-35 years) 50 20 21
Others (above 35) 44 20 21
Level of education
Non-literate 43 13 23
Upto primary 42 19 24
Upto matric 47 23 21
College and above 53 24 19

Note: Rest didn’t respond to this question.

The survey finds that the issue of farmers’ distress, although very real, might not be much of an electoral issue as it does not seem to affecting the government’s popularity among the farming community. Even as a slightly higher proportion of farmers were found to be blaming the Central government and not their State government for their plight, this has not resulted in any strong anti-Modi government sentiment among them – two-fifths of such farmers still want the regime to return to power.

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However a sizeable proportion of farmers who blame the Modi government for their plight also want it to return

Government should get another chance (%) Government should not get another chance (%)
Farmers who blame Central government for their problems 41 47
Farmers who blame State government for their problems 61 28
Farmers who blame Both governments for their problems 47 40

The pro-government sentiment among farmers was found to be strongest in North and East India and weakest in South India. This is in fact very similar to how non-farmer respondents across these regions also responded to the incumbency question. Moreover, when asked what would be the most important issue for them while voting, only about 6% reported specific farming-related issues as their most important problem. The rest of the farmers stated voting issues similar to the ones stated by non-farmers.

Farmers in Maharashtra were most likely to report farming related problems as the most important voting issue (20%) followed by Haryana (16%).

How people from different strata perceive ‘Modi’s development model’ – religious minorities are most critical of it; of all regions South is most likely to feel Modi’s development has been for the rich

development for all (%) only for the Rich (%) no development at all (%)
Social groups
Hindu upper caste 55 19 14
Upper OBC 49 27 18
Lower OBC 49 22 12
Dalit 41 33 17
Adivasi 32 29 16
Muslim 33 34 20
Christian 26 31 34
Sikh 14 48 32
Economic class
Poor 42 27 16
Lower class 45 27 17
Middle class 44 30 17
Upper class 46 26 19
Regions
North 49 25 16
East 50 26 10
South 26 37 25
West-Central 47 23 17

Note: The rest of the respondents did not answer the question

It must also be stressed here that we are not sure about which way the causality runs — are people actually deciding their political preferences about giving/ not giving the ruling party/coalition a second chance on the basis of their perception of the economy or is the perception of the economy being determined by their political preferences and their likes or dislikes regarding the regime?

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Our survey found a sharp divide between BJP supporters and the rest on this question. While over half the BJP supporters were found to be viewing the economy in a positive light, among Congress and Congress allies’ supporters only one-fifth held such a view. Supporters of opposition parties were more likely to view the economy as being in average or bad shape.

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