Jugglery of surveys: Modi Versus Rahul

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Modi Versus RahulWhy opinion polls suggesting a groundswell of support for Modi against Rahul Gandhi fail to present an accurate picture

Dr Javed Jamil

The corporate world, which hates words like ‘inclusive growth, subsidies, welfare schemes and economic disparity’etc., is surely behind Narendra Modi whose ‘growth model’ is more acceptable to them than the one being pushed by the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who is increasingly talking about the poor, the marginalized and the deprived.

It is therefore obvious that the corporate world would use the media to generate and sustain a wave for Modi. Surveys are almost always a favourite way of the media to create illusions in the minds of the people in order to build up a momentum in favour of what they prefer. Most surveys are almost always predetermined, and are planned in a way so as to support their aims.

Take for example the recent surveys conducted by various news channels on the likely outcome of the coming elections. They know pretty well what methodologies would bring the desired results. And with results in their hands, they hit the channels like earthquakes.

Look at the results of some of the recent surveys. According to the Hindustan Times-GfK survey, Modi emerged as a clear favourite with 38% backing him versus 23% for Rahul Gandhi, and 14% for Dr Manmohan Singh. According to the Week survey, 32% people felt Modi would be the best PM followed by Singh, 15%, and Rahul 13%.

According to the CNN-IBN-The Hindu polls conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, while 19% of the respondents chose Modi for the top job amongst all leaders, only 12% supported Rahul. The incumbent Prime Minister came third in the race as only 6% respondents choose him amongst all leaders across party line. Advani was the least preferred choice with only 2% respondents backing him.

Now if we have a look at the results of all these surveys, there is a clear attempt to prove that the difference between the popularity of Rahul and Modi is huge. But if we closely examine the results, the balloon gets punctured soon. The surveys tend to indicate as if Rahul and Manmohan Singh are each other’s rivals, and the vote for one is the negation of the other. The actual scenario is different. Those who have preferred Singh, for example, over Modi, are also likely to prefer Rahul if they are given the choice of choosing between the two. This is as true as it is between Modi andAdvani.

Now look at the results.According to the Hindustan Times-GfK survey, the combined vote of Rahul and Manmohan comes to 37% which is only 1% lesser than Modi’s 38%. According to the Week survey, Rahul-Manmohan Singh combination fetches 28%, which is again close to 32% fetched by Modi.

Similarly, according to the CNN-IBN-The Hindu polls conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, the combined percentage of the two congress leaders comes to 18 pc, which is again only 1% less than Modi’s 19  The percentages of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Advani and SushmaSwarajhave not much bearing on the over-all comparison.

Now these are early days. While the BJP and its leader Modi have already launched their campaign with their full intensity, the Congress and Rahul have yet to make a start. Despite this, the combined Rahul-Singh vote preferences among the voters surveyed is almost neck to neck with Modi. Obviously, the situation will rapidly change once Rahul’s campaign picks up.

Moreover, the surveys have been mostly conducted in cities. The cities covered belong mostly to Northern, Western and Central India. Obviously, the planners knew in advance where the Modi supporters are most vocal. There is no visible attempt to gauge the mood of various sections of the people of the country in accordance with their percentage in the total votes of the country. An ideal survey must use the following parameters:

  • 80 pc of the samples should be from rural area and 20 from the urban;
  • The states should be given a share in accordance with their share in the voters’ list;
  • At least 15 pc should belong to Muslim community and 4 pc to other minorities;
  • 80 pc should be from the low income groups;
  • About 49 pc should be females.

If these cares are taken, only then the results of survey can be accepted as accurate and trustworthy. The truth, however, is that none of the surveys mentioned above followed these criteria. Their results therefore can be regarded as nothing but an attempt to project the media’s own choices as the choices of the country and to frighten the party in power in order to earn favours and promises for the corporate India.

  • DrJavedJamil is a New Delhi-based physician, poet and writer with over a dozen books to his credit, including his latest, “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”. Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He can be contacted atdoctorforu123@yahoo.com 

 

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