The 3 most important questions in Election 2019
Here are the three questions we must ask ourselves to get a good feel of what might happen in the election in April and May
How Satisfied are we with the current Government?
If Dissatisfied, are we open to trying the opposition?
If open to trying the opposition, what is the biggest hook?
Let us go back to 2014 and 2009 and answer the above questions
So what about Election 2019?
In case of the 2019 election, the biggest catch is the question to answer 1. Unlike 2009 and 2014, the answer to question 1 is a little grey in 2019. In 2009, with growth above 8%, it was an open and shut case. In 2014, with growth below 6%, it was also an open and shut case. In 2019, with growth around 7%, it is not bad but it is not great either.
What is data saying on Satisfaction?
47% of voters said they are satisfied with the Modi Government in May (CSDS). In May 2009, the UPA Government scored about 65%. Other surveys have given the Government a satisfaction score between 55 and 60%.
Are voters open to trying the Opposition?
1. Not so much in Bengal and Odisha where BJP will certainly improve in performance
3. The 2018 assembly polls have clearly identified the groups that are likely to shift to the Opposition – Cultivators, Labourers, Minorities and Liberals. The first two groups on account of income/inflation issues and the other two groups on issue of security
Does the Opposition have a hook?
1. Opposition Viability has improved. In May 2014, there was a 20 point gap between Modi and Rahul Gandhi. That has fallen now to 10 points. This will help consolidate the minority and liberal votes (say about 20%)
2. With income becoming an issue, the NYAY minimum income scheme will deliver another 20%
In sum, the opposition hooks are relevant only to about 40% of the voters. Anti-incumbenct behaviour may drive a few voters but there is no data to put a number to it.
The ruling party will hope that the voters unhappy with the ruling party but not targetted by the opposition (say about 5%) will NOT turn up on election day. to vote against the Government. The opposition will hope that they can boost voter turnout amongst poor voters even further (for example boosting turnout of the 40% by 10%) could deliver 2-3% more voters to the booth. Any natural drop out of 2014 BJP voters may reduce the gap further.
Purely from a targetting perspective, the opposition appears to be targetting two narrowly to win 2019. Both the sides are now dependent on the behaviour of untargetted dissatisfied (10%) who may or may not turn up to vote in large numbers. With higher temperatures predicted, voting turnout will certainly drop in this election in many States, the question is who and why?