December 04, 2015

Different Vote for State and Centre?

Courtesy: Mint


Praveen Chakravarty throws some light on the recent Bihar assembly elections, analysing voter behavior when General and assembly elections are held simultaneously and in this case when the elctions were held almost 18 months apart.


He writes "The race to explain the Bihar electoral outcome with attractive one-liners yielded a bountiful harvest of narratives such as “agro-povertarianism”, “index of opposition unity” and so on. Chief among them is this notion that voters in Bihar preferred Narendra Modi to be their prime minister and Nitish Kumar to be the chief minister, suggesting that the Bihar debacle was not a verdict against the PM....

Implicit in this notion is a presumption that voters choose differently for the state vis-à-vis the centre. That voters in India have different political preferences for their state leadership versus national leadership is an entrenched notion among both the political fraternity as well as their observers. Except, empirical evidence shows otherwise. Had elections to Bihar been held at the same time as the 2014 Lok Sabha election, there is a 77% chance that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Modi could have won the assembly election in Bihar...

Using electoral data from 1999, we tested voter behaviour for differentiated preferences between the centre and state. All else being equal, when presented with two ballots at the same time—one for choosing their representative in the Lok Sabha and the other for their state legislature—did voters really demonstrate different choices for the two?..

As our analysis shows, when presented with an option to choose different parties for the Lok Sabha and state, with all other things being equal, a vast majority of voters did not exercise that choice. It is then unclear what forms the basis for such punditry of astute voters voting differently for centre and state...

We also note that when assembly elections are held six months before or after the national election, voters chose the same party in only 61% of the cases, down from 77% when elections were simultaneous".


Click here to read the Mint article.

Topic : Transitions / In : OP-EDS
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