New Delhi: The season for pre-poll surveys has begun with poll bugle sounded on Wednesday after the Election Commission of India announcing dates for the assembly elections in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur. Two pre-poll surveys, conducted by Lokniti-CSDS-ABP and India Today-Axis, are out for Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttarakhand. Lokniti survey was conducted from 5 December through 17 December 2016 among 5,932 voters in 309 locations (polling stations) spread across 65 assembly constituencies.
Here are the highlights from the two pre-poll surveys and their results:
• Lokniti survey has predicted that the Samajwadi Party (SP) will emerge as the single-largest electoral force and projected to win 141-151 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is predicted to emerge as the main opposition with 129-138 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) could win 93-103, whereas, Congress is likely to be restricted between 13 and 19.
• However, in case of a split in SP, the BJP will emerge as the single-largest party with 158-168 seats. The Akhilesh Yadav-led camp of the SP would be restricted to 82-95 seats. The Mulayam Singh Yadav-led faction of SP would be reduced to 2-8 seats, if they fight seperately, In the case of a split, the Congress would not be making much gains. The BSP is also projected to be making slight gains in case of a split in the SP. The BSP, which is normally projected by the survey to win 93-103 seats, will be winning 105-115 seats.
• The India Today-Axis survey, with a sample size of over 21,000 people, predicts 206-216 seats for the BJP, while the SP and the BSP trail (92-97) and (79-85) seats, respectively. The Congress was marginalized with just 5-9 seats.
• In terms of vote share, the BJP managed to bag a 33% vote share, with the BSP and the SP trailing with 26% vote share each. The Congress again brought out the rear at 6-9%.
• Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has emerged as the favourite choice for CM with 33% votes in the poll, while Mayawati and Rajnath Singh trailing him.
• In Punjab’s 117-member assembly, Lokniti says the BJP-SAD alliance seems to have an edge over rival parties with 50-58 seats—a few short of a simple majority. The Congress, which is likely to bag 41-49 seats, is giving a tough competition to the alliance. AAP, which has high hopes from Punjab, is wining 12-18 seats to be at a distant third position.
• India Today-Axis survey predicts a keen fight between the Congress and AAP in Punjab. It gave 49-55 seats to the Congress, 42-46 to the AAP and 17-21 to the SAD-BJP.
• Lokniti predicts a change of government in Uttarakhand giving the BJP 35-43 seats in the 70-member assembly. The incumbent Congress is predicted to come down to 22-30 seats. The Congress would likely secure only 33% of the total vote, while the BJP is estimated to get 40% of the total vote, down 15 percentage points since the 2014 Lok Sabha election but 7 percentage points up since the 2012 assembly election.
• India Today-Axis also forecasts a victory for the BJP in Uttarakhand. It gave 35-43 out of the total 70 seats to the BJP and 22-30 to the Congress.