With most opinion polls predicting a majority for AAP in the upcoming Delhi elections, Yashwant Deshmuk and Shankkar Aiyar breakdown the numbers on the basis of gender and socio-economic groups to evaluate who is voting for whom.
The latest CVoter opinion polls carried out over a sample size of 2,000 people in Delhi in the first week of February, 2015 project a vote share of 44% for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and 43% for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Compared to the 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections, the BJP has seen a positive swing of 11% in votes while the AAP has leaped forward by 14%.
“This election is too close to call. These polls are all ball park figures. The turnout on the Election Day is a very critical element and will play a decisive role. Generally speaking, in opinion polls, everyone says that are going to vote. It’s a global phenomenon. But not everyone comes out to vote. The average Indian turnout is 60 to 65%. It has gone as high as 80% in the last two years. Delhi is in a unique position because both the parties in this bipolar race have been constantly gaining,” said Yashwant Deshmukh, the Managing Director and Editor of CVoter Foundation.
“It looks like this a contest between mass appeal and mass organization. What eventually will decide this election is the ability of the party to get their voters into the booth. For some strange reason, BJP’s campaign has been completely negative. They are not focusing on their trump card of good governance and Narendra Modi,” Shankkar Aiyar, political journalist and commentator, said.
The CVoter polls reflect a clear preference for AAP among the male voters where as the female voters are in favour of BJP.
“Female tunout in Indian elections have been erratic. There are very few elections where the female turnout has been higher than the male turnout. But generally speaking, and in Delhi, it is not a 50-50 scenario for the electorate. It is a 43 to 57 gap in Delhi. This is where that AAP base is coming from,” Deshmukh explained.
The cross tabulation across different age groups in the opinion polls show a uniform voting pattern, either for BJP or AAP. There is no clear preference for one party.
“There are trends that we can see in this. For the first-time voters, there is a slight preference for AAP. Amongst the youth, it’s neck and neck between AAP and BJP. As the age group goes up, there is a certain sense of preference for BJP, and even Congress. This confirms that AAP support base is mostly youngsters,” Deshmukh said.
Among the different education classes, these polls reflect a majority support for AAP in the lower education group while in the middle and higher education groups, the majority of voters support BJP.
When cross tabulated on the basis of profession, there are two working groups that show a stark variation in their voting preference. 50% of housewives say that they would vote for BJP, as compared to 37% for AAP. In the general labour category, this trend is reversed, with 55% of votes for AAP and only 25% for the BJP. This is also the only group that shows a 14% of support for Congress.
“In the 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections, majority of the housewives had voted for AAP and the labour segment for Congress. We are seeing a shift, where the middle classes have moved from AAP to BJP. And AAP has consolidated the lower class vote,” Deshmukh said.
When the voters were categorized on the basis of social groups, the trends that emerged from the polls were that a very clear majority of Muslims prefer AAP with only 12% picking BJP over other parties. The other backward classes and upper caste hindus are two groups where the BJP in turn enjoys a healthy majority.
Most polls predict a majority for AAP in the upcoming elections, where as the CVoter and IMRB polls project a slight edge for BJP.
“This is probably the first election after a long time where I see a socio-economic divide rather than a religious divide. This is a new way that the Indian society is going to vote for. It will be very interesting to see how this trend is going to fan out in the rest of the country in the coming years,” Deshmukh concluded.