In charts: Shades of pessimism ahead of a heated election season

Unemployment was the biggest area of concern, with 49% of respondents naming it in their top three. Photo: Mint
Unemployment was the biggest area of concern, with 49% of respondents naming it in their top three. Photo: Mint

Summary

  • While nearly four in every five urban Indians plan to vote, a majority don’t see the next five years producing a major turnaround on poverty, unemployment and communal relations.

Election fever is set to grip the country in the next two months as the Election Commission of India prepares to announce the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls soon. As many as 79% of urban Indians are planning to vote this time, showed the latest YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey, conducted in December. While voting is in many ways a symbol of hope, surprisingly, a majority of respondents were pessimistic about a turnaround in the next five years on some key issues the country faces.

This negativity was in part driven by Generation Z, or those born after 1996. Incidentally, those in this age group were also the least likely to vote this year, with 75% saying yes, as compared with 85% of those born before 1981.

Overall, no more than 31% of the respondents said they expected an improvement in communal relations in the coming five years, only 38% saw poverty levels dropping, and 43% were hopeful of better jobs for young Indians by 2029. Around 48% predicted that India would be among the world's top three economies by 2029. (Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed that India will do so in his “third term", and the International Monetary Fund expects this by 2027.) On other questions, too, a majority weren’t hopeful, the survey showed.

Shades of gloom

Respondents who identified as Muslim (12% of the sample) were far more likely to predict better communal relations within five years (42%) than Hindu respondents (31%).

On other questions, the biggest stakeholders were the most pessimistic on what the next government holds for them. Those in smaller towns were less likely to predict improved urban infrastructure in the next five years, the lowest earners were less likely to expect a reduction in poverty, and those without jobs were less likely to see an improvement on that front.

The results were based on an online survey of 12,544 participants across more than 200 cities and towns. Around 84% were millennials or younger. This was the 11th round of the biannual survey, which is a collaboration between Mint, survey partner YouGov India, and the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a think tank in Delhi.

Over the past three weeks, this series has reported on other findings of the latest survey, such as high support for the Bharatiya Janata Party, rising partisanship in India’s politics, and a widespread rejection of free welfare benefits.

Vox populi

The survey asked respondents to identify the current government’s biggest achievements. From a list of items that many of the ruling party’s supporters could possibly see as achievements, India’s covid-19 vaccination drive came out on top: it was in the top three for 43% respondents. An improvement in India’s global image and the uptake of digital payments came next, while the handling of corruption in government and free rations for the poor featured at the bottom.

On the flip side, unemployment was the biggest area of concern, with 49% of respondents naming it in their top three, more so in eastern and northeastern states (54%). Price rise and inflation were the biggest issues for 40% of respondents, followed by corruption and women’s safety (34% each).

With voters’ priorities clear and politicians ready to build their narratives, let the show begin!

This concludes the six-part series about the survey’s findings. Note that these surveys are skewed towards well-to-do urban netizens, with 89% respondents falling under the “NCCS-A" socioeconomic category of consumers. Full methodology note here. Raw data of the responses can be accessed on the same link.

Part 1: Support for BJP reaches fever pitch; INDIA alliance has few takers: Survey

Part 2: The political hot potatoes on which urban India disagrees with the BJP

Part 3: The news sources that Indians will trust and distrust this poll season

Part 4: ‘Revdi’ or genuine welfare? India gives its verdict

Part 5: Indian politics is becoming increasingly partisan. We have the data to prove it.

Also read: Marking five years of the millennial survey

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