punjab pre-election survey, december 2016 about the survey a

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  • Punjab Pre-Election Survey, December 2016

    About the Survey

    A pre-election survey was conducted in Punjab by Lokniti, Centre for the Study of Developing

    Societies, Delhi, for ABP News. The survey was conducted from December 10 through December

    18, 2016 among 3093 voters in 188 locations spread across 39 assembly constituencies. The

    sampling design adopted was Multi-stage random sampling. The assembly constituencies where the

    survey was conducted were randomly selected using the probability proportional to size method.

    Thereafter, five polling stations within each of the sampled constituencies were selected using the

    systematic random sampling method. Finally, the respondents were also randomly selected using the

    same method from the latest electoral rolls of the sampled polling stations. Before going to the field

    for the survey, field investigators were imparted training about the survey and interviewing

    techniques at a day-long training workshops held in Amritsar and Chandigarh. The field

    investigators asked the respondents in a face-to-face interview in Punjabi (or Hindi in some cases) a

    detailed set of questions. The duration of the interview was approximately 30-35 minutes. The

    survey could not be conducted at seven sampled locations covering four assembly constituencies.

    The achieved sample has been weighted by age-groups, gender, locality, religion, and caste group,

    based on Census 2011 information. The poll has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.6

    points. The error margin increases for cross tabulations.

    Profile of Achieved Sample in Punjab

    Survey Sample


    Census 2011 (%)

    Scheduled Caste (18+ years) 35.9 29.8

    Hindu 31.4 38.5*

    Sikh 66.2 57.7*

    Women (18+ years) 43.5 48.3

    Urban (18+ years) 27.4 38.3

    18-25 years 12.4 23.9

    26-35 years 25.1 24.2

    36-45 years 21.6 19.7

    46-55 years 16.9 13.8

    56+ years 24.0 18.4 *Includes all ages

    The fieldwork of the study was coordinated by Prof. Jagroop Singh Sekhon (Guru Nanak Dev

    University, Amritsar) and Prof. Ashutosh Kumar (Panjab University, Chandigarh). The survey was

    designed and analysed by a team of researchers at Lokniti. The team included Asmita Aasaavari,

    Arushi Gupta, Dhananjay Kumar Singh, Himanshu Bhattacharya, Jyoti Mishra, Souradeep Banerjee,

    Shashwat Dhar, Shreyas Sardesai and Vibha Attri. The survey was directed by Prof. Sanjay Kumar,

    Prof. Suhas Palshikar and Prof. Sandeep Shastri of Lokniti.

  • Survey details in a nutshell

    Conducted by Lokniti-CSDS, for ABP News

    Dates of fieldwork Dec 10-18, 2016

    No. of Assembly Constituencies covered 39

    No. of Polling Stations (Locations) covered 188

    No. of interviews conducted (Sample size) 3093

    Overall Margin of Error +/- 2.6

    Sampling method Multi-stage random sampling

    Fieldwork method Standardized face to face interview in Punjabi/Hindi

    Summary of Findings

    Lokniti team

    The Lokniti-ABP News pre-election survey conducted in Punjab between December 10 and 18,

    2016 has thrown up a major paradox. The survey conducted among 3093 voters spread across 39

    assembly constituencies has found a strong desire among the states voters to bring in political

    change with three out of five voters being against giving the incumbent Shiromani Akali Dal-

    Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government another chance to govern. Yet when it came to

    voting intentions, it is the unpopular SAD-BJP combine that emerged on top edging out its main

    political opponents the Indian National Congress (Cong) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). When

    voters were asked to indicate who they would vote for if elections were held the very next day, a

    plurality (34 percent) indicated SAD-BJP as their preference. The Congress was the vote choice of

    31 percent respondents and the AAP of 21 percent. Other smaller parties were preferred by 14

    percent respondents.

    A changed nature of competition in the state seems to be one of the chief reasons for the SAD-BJP

    combines lead over its opponents despite being highly unpopular. In a state that has traditionally

    witnessed a bipolar contest between the SAD-BJP and the Congress, the entry of AAP has made the

    contest triangular and this seems to be leading to a massive division of votes of those who are

    against the ruling government. The survey has been able to capture this quite well. Among the 60

    percent voters who said they would not like the incumbent government to get another term in

    office, the survey found no clear preference for any single opposition party. While 42 percent of

    their vote was cornered by the Congress, a significant 30 percent of these anti-Akali government

    voters indicated that they would vote for AAP. Similarly, the survey found 36 percent of the voters

    to be highly dissatisfied with the performance of the SAD-BJP government and among them too

    there is a significant divide. While 43 percent of them are planning to vote for the Congress, 29

    percent are for AAP and 21 percent are voting for other parties.

    To be fair, even as the SAD-BJP government is unpopular on the whole, it is not regarded as a

    failure on all aspects of governance. On matters such as electricity supply, water supply, condition of

    roads, the state of educational facilities, and urban development, it is rated positively by most voters.

  • However on other critical areas such as the condition of farmers, lowering corruption, generating

    jobs, and maintaining law and order, it is rated highly negatively. For instance, 70 percent of the

    respondents said that corruption had gone up during the last five years. 69 percent were of the

    opinion that the situation of employment had deteriorated. This negative rating on the job front is

    particularly bad news for the ruling alliance since the survey also found unemployment to be the

    prime concern of many voters. In response to an open-ended question on the single most important

    issue in the election, a plurality of voters (20 percent) said lack of jobs will be the most important

    voting issue for them. For 18 percent development will be the key voting issue, for 13 percent it will

    be price rise and for 8 percent corruption will be a major consideration while voting.

    The survey found the SAD-BJP combine to be leading in two out of three regions of the state. In

    Malwa, the largest region of the state, SAD+ leads with 33 percent of the vote followed by the

    Congress at 28 percent and AAP+ closely behind at 26 percent. Within this larger Malwa region,

    each of the three players has its area of dominance. The Congress leads in East Malwa, AAP in

    Central Malwa and SAD in West Malwa. In Majha and Doaba, meanwhile, the survey found the

    competition to be essentially a two-horse race with AAP being a distant third. In Majha, the

    Congress narrowly leads the Akali-BJP combine by three points as of now. In Doaba, however, it

    trails them by four points. The survey found AAP to be netting 17 percent votes in Doaba and just

    10 percent in Majha. Even as the AAP may not be doing all that well in these two regions, the small

    but significant share of votes secured by it may well eventually determine who finishes on top here

    the Congress or the Akalis. In both Majha and Doaba, particularly the former, a large proportion of

    voters saw the AAP as being a spoiler rather than a strong contender.

    Overall, SAD and BJP have a seven point lead over the Congress in rural Punjab. In Urban Punjab,

    it is the Congress which is ahead of the ruling alliance but only by a slender margin of three points,

    31 to 28 percent. AAP is also a strong contender of urban votes with the party securing 25 percent

    support among respondents located in urban areas.

    SAD-BJP have a significant advantage over their two rivals among the landed peasantry. The survey

    found the combine to be securing 52 percent of the votes among big farmers owning over five acres

    of land. The alliance does a little worse among farmers owning less than five acres of land, however

    among them too it is quite comfortably ahead. Among landless farmers, however, the SAD-BJP

    combine is not doing as well, with the Congress leading this section with 36 percent votes.

    The Congress, in fact, is doing far better among poorer sections of the electorate than those who are

    economically well off. Whereas 38 percent of the Poor were found to be voting for the party, among

    the Rich, support for the party drops to 29 percent. AAP, on the other hand, is doing far better

    among the Rich (23 percent) than the Poor (18 percent). Support for SAD-BJP is evenly spread

    across all classes with a slight advantage to them among the poorer sections.

  • In terms of caste and community support, the ruling alliance was found to be leading its rivals quite

    comfortably across all Sikh communities. The partys vote share among Jat Sikhs, Khatri Sikhs, OBC

    Sikhs and Dalit Sikhs is in the range of 37 to 39 percent. To be sure, the Congress and AAP together

    are garnering more votes than the Akalis across all these Sikh communities. However since this is a

    three-horse race, a massive vote split of Sikhs between the two opposition parties seems to be giving

    the Akalis the frontrunner advantage. The Hindu vote, meanwhile, seems to be favouring the

    Congress with the party ahead of


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