Google: The Increasing Gap between PM Modi and BJP
A peculiar situation is developing
Let us look at Google Trend data (above) closely. There are 3 peaks for the BJP and all of them occurred during an election (UP, Gujarat and Karnataka). Also, notice the search trends gap between BJP and PM Modi, not much of a gap between the party and the PM. Eventually Two of the elections led to wins and in the third the party had the most seats.
It is during the MP, CG and Rajasthan election that there was gap between Modi and BJP. The gap was quite substantial too. It is also here that the party lost the elections.
Now, if one looks at the interim period, there have been other Modi bounces
2nd July 2017: Modi – 41, BJP – 8
17 Sept 2017: Modi – 42, BJP – 7
15 July 2018: Modi – 42, BJP – 8
12 August 2018: Modi – 62, BJP – 14
If one looks at the ratio above it varies from 4.4 to 6. If one were to take all the data points between elections until Karnataka, the ratio average comes to about 3
20 Sept 2018: Modi – 57, BJP – 8
06 Jan 2019: Modi – 66, BJP – 10
24 Feb 2019: Modi – 100, BJP-9
If one looks at the ratio above it varies from 6.6 to 11. If one were to take all the data points between elections from Karnataka until 1st March, the ratio average comes to about 5
In other words, until the Karnataka election, a surge in search for Modi would also translate into a search for BJP 1 in 3 times (average) whereas post Karnataka, it seems to have deteriorated to 1 in 5 times. The PM’s popularity is not translating as effectively to search for BJP compared to before.
These are broad hypotheses and data available in April will tell us if these hypotheses will hold
a. BJP has increasing morphed to Modi party and it may have short term benefits and long term losses.
b. The PM is a magnet for voters (positive or negative) but that is not necessarily converting into votes. That should be worrisome
c. The election is becoming perhaps too much about the PM and less about the policies. This will serve the BJP well at the moment as the PM leads rest of the leaders
Overall, the BJP should worry a bit for the long term impact even if the short term impact may be minimal. Should the short term impact be high, the whole 2019 election could turn out to be far more competitive than expected.