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

Around 64% of respondents claimed to have voted consistently since becoming eligible to do so.
Around 64% of respondents claimed to have voted consistently since becoming eligible to do so.


  • Strong partisans — those with deep attachment to the party they vote for — now comprise close to half of the urban segment. This has strong implications on what kind of politics to expect on social media, on the poll trail, and on the ballot.

The political divide in Indian society is getting sharper by the day, and we have the data to show it. Nearly 44% of the 12,544 urban Indians interviewed in our most recent survey displayed signs of intense attachment to one or the other political party. The share of such people, who we label as ‘strong partisans’, has increased steadily since 2021, when it was 37%. Such individuals are more likely to engage in political debate online even though they face more negativity on social media, the survey found.

Five times in the past two years, the YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey has asked Indians which party they identify with—and how deeply. Do you take the party’s criticism as a personal insult and does praise make you feel good? Do you refer to the party as ‘my party’? When you meet a fellow supporter, do you feel a connection? Those who are more emphatic in saying ‘yes’ to these questions are classed as ‘strong partisans’ in our index. The rest are moderates and weak partisans, based on their responses.

As seen in past rounds, older generations are more attached to their preferred parties. The share of strong partisans was 45% among pre-millennials (those born before 1981), 47% among millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996), and 40% among post-millennials. Nearly 48% of men were strongly partisan, while women were less so (39%).

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had far more loyal supporters than other parties. As many as 59% of BJP supporters expressed strong feelings about the party, while only 48% of Congress supporters felt the same about that party. The first part of this series showed that the BJP now commands the support of almost half of the respondents. We now see that this support is firm—and personal.

Conducted online in December 2023, the survey involved participants across more than 200 cities and towns, and focused on election-related attitudes among India's digital natives. Around 84% of respondents 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.

The battle lines

The findings indicate a divided landscape, which is shaping the world view of urban Indians on multiple aspects of politics. While only 30% of respondents said they engaged in online political discussions “always", the share was 46% among strong partisans. Just 8% of strong partisans “never" engaged in this. Weak partisans were the polar opposite: 41% said they never engaged in political discussions online. Moderate partisans showed a somewhat balanced distribution.

As a result, strong partisans were also more likely to face negative interactions or harassment for their political views online. The share of respondents who reported facing this was around one in three overall, but among strong partisans, it was nearly half. Among weak partisans, the share was less than one in five.

The survey asked respondents about their voting habits and their interest levels in national and state elections. Around 64% claimed to have voted consistently since becoming eligible to do so. Strong partisans were more likely to vote, and were invested in both national and state elections. The share of respondents who claimed to have voted in every election since they became eligible was higher among strong partisans (73%) than moderates (62%) and weak partisans (55%).

How does partisanship affect the choice of party in the state- and national-level elections? Almost two-thirds of respondents said they had voted for the same party in the 2019 national elections and the most recent assembly elections in their state. Strong partisans were much more likely to stick to one party, and it was only among the weak partisans that split voting was much more likely —almost a coin toss.

Election mood

Lastly, the survey asked respondents about their plans for the 2024 national elections to understand their intention to vote and take part in various political activities. Almost four-fifths said they intended to vote this time, but here, too, the share was the highest among strong partisans (86%), followed by moderates (79%) and weak partisans (71%).

There seems to be a decent level of interest among respondents in participating in various election-related activities: 23% said they planned to volunteer in campaigns for a political party or candidate, 21% planned to attend rallies, 17% expected to donate to campaigns, and 18% said they were planning to join a party. Strong partisans expressed more willingness to volunteer, attend rallies, contribute financially, and join parties.

With partisanship increasing consistently over the years, and strong partisans showing more willingness to participate in election-related activities, expect the 2024 campaign to be high-pitched, emotional and personal.

The authors are associated with CPR, New Delhi.

This is the fifth part of a series about the findings of the 11th round of the survey, which had 12,544 respondents. Note that these surveys are skewed towards urban well-to-do netizens, with 89% respondents falling under the “NCCS-A" socioeconomic category of consumers. Full methodology note here.

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 6: Shades of pessimism ahead of a heated election season

Also read: Marking five years of the millennial survey

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