KarnatakaElections: CSDS 2nd Tracking Poll. JDS Resurgence Practically Torpedoes BJP Hopes Of A Win

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Jain-LokNiti-CSDS second tracking poll was published last evening by ABPNews and boy that proved a shocker! In a space of a month into the campaign, the political churning apparently has turned topsy-turvy the whole electoral outcome in the state. 

As usual, seat shares are avoided in this blog to concentrate solely on tracking vote share changes as found below:

What these numbers indicate at the overall state level, is that both Congress and JDS are picking up momentum at the cost of BJP and OTHERS. The Congress extends their overall net lead over the BJP to 5% with JDS continuing to show buoyancy. If these numbers are believed BJP is losing momentum and now reduced within their vote share resistance band of 33-34%. 

In Bangalore, what these numbers are indicating is that the two national parties are experiencing strong undercurrents of negativity while the JDS and OTHERS are experiencing a positive swing. These figures as a comparison could be misleading as CSDS classification of Bangalore includes 36 seats while the likes of Cfore only include 28 seats. Obviously 8 constituencies in the Old Mysuru region are also categorized under Bangalore by CSDS. Even so, a 25% vote share seems far too excessive for JDS as they have virtually no presence in the 28 seats that constitute Bangalore core constituencies. If OTHERS are experiencing a positive swing it could be the rebel factor and perhaps accentuated by the BSP factor. But the majpr takeaway is a whopping 5% swing against the BJP. 

At face value what these numbers indicate is that both Congress & JDS are losing momentum and the major beneficiary is OTHERS, and to a much lesser extent BJP. But considering the margin of error of the study is + 2%, these swings may not be statistically significant. Nevertheless, accepting these numbers at their face values, both Congress and JDS need to worry a bit to ensure their vote share do not fall further to prevent the contest turning a tri-polar one.

These are fascinating sets of data. Though overall, the Congress and BJP are neck-to-neck, the contest is turning out to be heavily bi-polar, with JDS and OTHERS being squeezed out. The BJP that was leading by a whopping 5% last month, find itself themselves even-steven with the Congress. Though the BJP had gained 2% from last month, the momentum clearly lies with the Congress who increased their projected vote share by a whopping 7%. This is probably the reason why Congress have deployed their heavy weights - Sonia Gandhi, Prithviraj Chauhan, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Jyotiraditya Scindia - during the last stretch of the campaign in an effort to more comprehensively sweep the region.

Hyderabad-Karnataka shows mind boggling churning. Both Congress & BJP are losing momentum and if these numbers are to be believed, there is sort of a wave for JDS who picked up a whopping 11% in one month, If the trend continues, the contest could easily turn from a bi-polar to a tri-polar contest. Not easy to accept these figures as ground reports do not have seem to have detected such JDS resurgence in the region. The only plausible explanation are that Muslim and perhaps Dalit (BSP factor) consolidation behind JDS which the Congress requires to quickly counter if true. Accordingly if at all the JDS-BSP is having an impact, it is in this region that it reflects most.

Central Karnataka is turning out a neck-to-neck fight between the Congress and BJP though a Poll of Poll indicated that the edge probably lie with the BJP.  No major surprise here. The Congress should be happy with these numbers as this is Yedduruppa's bastion. Though this region is not the traditional strength of the Congress, they do expect to make major inroads by default - as a consequence of BJP factional feuds, they expect some big names of BJP to fall in this region due to internal sabotage.

These kind of wild swings we do not normally see within one month of tracking. It is possible that either of these tracking surveys had been off track, most likely the April one as CSDS numbers are now more consistent with those of the Poll of Polls. Coastal Karnataka could be a tight contest but with a distinct edge with the Congress. Taking these numbers at face value, the JDS bouncing back seem to be eating into the BJP vote share most likely Dalits & fishermen community. BJP also seem to have messed up their ticket distribution. The Billava community threatens boycott of BJP in Dakshina Kannada. The Billavas say Brahmins & Bunts are over represented in ticket distribution at their cost. 


Political commenters as well as pollsters remain totally flabbergasted to explain why Narendra Modi after openly wooing JDS and Dev Gowda on the first day of his recent campaign visit to Karnataka, did a somersault by the third day, going full hammer and thongs at the JDS and Dev Gowda. The findings of surveys like CSDS most likely could have totally unnerved him. 

The BJP calculations would have initially assumed that the JDS would eat into the Congress. There are strong anecdotal evidence supplemented by findings like CSDS that indicate these calculations have boomeranged on BJP. The better JDS does, the lower the BJP vote share and consequently, the lower the Index of Opposition Unity (IOU).  

Despite the campaign blitzkrieg by the BJP, the Congress appear t onot only  have withstood their attacks but most likely to inch to the 40% vote share threshold. Once the Congress manages to cross this threshold, its strike rate increases in geographical progression. The possibility is high for the later outcome as CSDS voter turnout intention data indicates - Congress and JDS voters are more enthusiastic to turnout while a huge chunk of BJP voters running into double digits expressing their intentions to give voting a skip.

The die is cast for Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018?? We should find out on May 15th!  

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