Psephological Metrics suggests that SP-Congress Alliance is Unstoppable

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This is an interesting article by LiveMint that argues that from a psephological point of view, the probability of SP-Congress Alliance being defeated this election cycle is extremely remote. 

The article further argues that should such an alliance was in play; they would have swept the last three previous assembly elections as well. This is because they were basically four cornered contests and accordingly the vote share threshold needed to win the state is low viz 28-30%. In the last elections in 2012, the Samajwadi Party got just 29% of the votes, yet ended up with a comfortable 223 out of 403 seats. Five years earlier, the BSP with just over 30% of the votes won 205 seats.

Once the contests take a three cornered character, the vote share threshold substantially increases viz 35-40%.  In the 1998 general elections, for example, the BJP managed to win 58 out of the 85 seats in the then undivided state with only 36% of the vote. In the 2014 general elections, the BJP won 42% of the votes, and nearly 90% of the seats (71 out of 80). In fact, in 2012, if the Samajwadi Party and the Congress had got together, the alliance would have got a whopping three-fourths majority in the House, with 317 seats. 

That suggests that it would need a significant vote swing away from the alliance in order for it not to get an absolute majority. The extent of this required vote swing is a function of which other party manages to capture these votes. For the BJP to win this time, it needs to attract a whopping 11% from the alliance; for BSP to win in needs to attract at least 7% swing towards it from the alliance. 

For swings as large as 7-11%, a party needs a wave in its favour, which neither BSP nor BJP has at the moment. In short, the SP-Congress is unstoppable from the context of probability, though nothing is impossible as a surprise the ballot box can often hold when open.

To read the full article: HERE

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