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

The support for the BJP showed an upward trend across groups, most notably in the lower socio-economic strata, such as those from historically subjugated castes, low-income families, and non-metro cities. (ANI) (HT_PRINT)
The support for the BJP showed an upward trend across groups, most notably in the lower socio-economic strata, such as those from historically subjugated castes, low-income families, and non-metro cities. (ANI) (HT_PRINT)

Summary

  • Around 47% of urban Indians interviewed in the latest YouGov-Mint-CPR survey said they identified with the BJP. The Opposition alliance has bad news: 50% of the respondents doubted its ability to counter the ruling party in the upcoming elections.

With the Lok Sabha elections just weeks away, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is clearly in a pole position with the possibility of a record third term. Nearly every second urban Indian (47%) identifies with the ruling party, according to the 11th round of the biannual YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey held in December 2023. This is the highest support level the BJP has ever recorded in this survey since 2019, jumping from 39% in the previous round in mid-2023.

The Opposition’s challenge seems to have fizzled out even before the race started. The Congress remains a distant second, with its support base hovering around 11%. The Aam Aadmi Party’s national footprint, which had become visible in the survey after its victory in the Punjab elections in early 2022, is fading out. The BJP’s gains, in that sense, are largely a result of a shrinking support base for other parties. The prevalence of those who do not identify with any party at all is also declining.

The online survey had 12,544 respondents across over 200 cities and towns. Around 44% of the respondents were born after 1996, and 40% were born between 1981 and 1996. Mint conducts the survey in association with survey partner YouGov India and Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Policy Research (CPR), aiming to examine the aspirations, anxieties and attitudes of India’s digital natives.

Widening base

The support for the BJP showed an upward trend across groups, most notably in the lower socio-economic strata, such as those from historically subjugated castes, low-income families, and non-metro cities. This indicates a broadening of the party's social base. The BJP gained around 10 percentage points among some of these groups: the support level increased from 30% to 40% among those from the scheduled castes, from 26% to 36% among those from scheduled tribes, and from 44% to 54% among those living in Tier-II cities.

Among men, the support crossed the halfway mark to reach 52% from 42% earlier, while among women, it increased from 36% to 42%. Among post-millennials, the support level increased from 35% to 44%.

When asked for their prime ministerial choices, 53% of the respondents picked the incumbent, Narendra Modi—a sharp increase from 40% in mid-2023. The fact that Modi’s popularity was more than that of his party suggests appeal across party lines. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was again a distant second with 15% support, while other prominent leaders such as Yogi Adityanath, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and Amit Shah lost support further and were in single digits.

High ratings

These trends are also clear from how Indians assess the Modi government’s performance. Around 35% viewed both of its terms as “equally good", whereas 22% rated the second term higher: that means a majority, including many for whom the BJP is not the top-preferred party, found something to cheer about in the last five years. Just 12% said both terms were “equally bad", and 22% picked the first term as the better one.

The survey also asked respondents how satisfied they were with the government’s work on specific issues. Roughly 70% expressed satisfaction with the government’s hosting of the G20 summit in September 2023; nearly as many were satisfied with the government for keeping terrorist strikes at bay. Two-thirds gave a thumbs-up to the work on the Ram temple in Ayodhya, 63% were satisfied with the passage of the long-pending bill to reserve seats for women in legislatures, and 60% expressed satisfaction with the handling of border issues with China. In each case, the issue-specific support for the government exceeded the support the BJP had for itself.

Beleaguered Opposition

Meanwhile, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), a large coalition of Opposition parties aiming to defeat the BJP, was seen in dismal terms. Around 32% of the respondents expressed doubt over its ability to pose an effective challenge to the BJP in the elections, and 18% said the coalition might even disintegrate before that. (The survey took place before the Janata Dal (United) exited the alliance.) That means half of the respondents expressed scepticism about the alliance’s prospects. Just 29% were optimistic, while the rest (21%) had not even heard about it.

Even among the respondents who identified with the parties in the INDIA coalition, 45% were doubtful about its success (and 37% were optimistic). Among supporters of the BJP and its allies, 60% were doubtful.

The survey suggests a growing divide not only between the fortunes of the ruling party and the Opposition, but also between the Opposition and the general public. This underscores the soaring popularity of the prime minister, and places the ruling party in a formidable position leading into the upcoming polls.

(The authors are associated with CPR, New Delhi.)

This is the first part of a series about the findings of the 11th round of the survey. The next part, later this week, will dissect political views on specific issues that have dominated the discourse in recent years. Note that these surveys are skewed towards urban well-to-do netizens, with 89% respondents falling under the NCCS-A socio-economic category of consumers. Full methodology note here.

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.

Part 6: Shades of pessimism ahead of a heated election season

Also read: Marking five years of the millennial survey

Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
more

topics

MINT SPECIALS

Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App