Modi popularity high not low, inconsistencies in MOTN poll

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There are glaring inconsistencies in India Today’s Mood of the Nation Survey results released recently. The poll says Prime Minister Narendra Modi is no longer the choice of majority of the voters for the prime ministerial post.

The poll said that PM Modi’s ratings have declined from 66% in August 2020 to a meagre 24% in August 2021 in the ‘Best PM Choice’ question.

This has been widely published by the media and provided a false ray of hope to the Opposition. The same survey goes on to predict a comfortable majority for the National Democratic Alliance if elections are held now. It predicts 298 seats for NDA (-35) and 105 seats for UPA (+14). How is this possible?

While the ‘Mood of the Nation’ has emerged as a reliable source of information on various issues governing the country, we have in the past seen many survey results go wrong even of Axis MyIndia which has the best success rate.

It is an accepted fact that the prime minister’s ratings suffered during the peak of the second COVID wave, but it recovered after he took some bold decisions.

Vaccination was re-centralised from June, while free ration for the poor was extended for 8 months this year, too. The satisfactory progress on vaccination, opening up of the economy and lifting of lockdowns helped dissipate some of the dissatisfaction brewing among the voters.

Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company, which runs a Global Leader Approval Rating Tracker, was the one of the first to highlight a dip in ratings. However, the tracker confirms the point I am making. Net approval ratings (approved minus disapproved) of the prime minister have improved from a low of 31% during mid May to 43% currently.

The ratings had improved during July, the period when the Mood of the Nation poll was conducted. In fact, during this entire duration, Narendra Modi continues to enjoy the highest approval ratings among 13 global leaders across the world.

Source: www.morningconsult.com

According to CVoter's tracker as well, presently over 40% respondents picked Prime Minister Modi as their choice as India's next prime minister. There has been a fall even in this tracker, but it is not to the same extent as indicated by India Today's Mood of the Nation survey.

Modi is the choice of less than a fourth of people for the prime minister post, as per India Today, this data is contradicted by its own survey result of the NDA winning close to 300 seats.

Morning Consult and CVoter numbers show there may be some error here.

Some of the other data points in the survey also contradict the above finding:

  • Modi leads the pack of ‘Best PM Ever’, with 27% votes. Only 24% want him as prime minister if elections are held today, while 27% feel he is the best PM ever, surpassing even Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jawararlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

  • 54% of people rate Modi’s performance in this second term as good and outstanding, but only 24% want to see him as the next prime minister. Baffling! Who do this sizable chunk of 32% chose as prime minister? Yogi Adityanath, Amit Shah (18%) and other opposition leaders (14%). Modi is the undisputed leader of the BJP.

  • The survey shows only 2 BJP chief ministers in ‘Top 11’, as per approval ratings, Yogi and Himanta Biswa Sarma. Yogi is ranked 7th, behind Himanta. But some people prefer him over Modi as PM as per survey.

  • 49% of the respondents rated Modi’s handling of the COVID-19 situation as outstanding and good. Even on this point where Modi has been attacked and accused of mishandling the crisis, almost half the population feels he has done a good job as per the survey, which is reflected in the results. But the sharp drop in Best Choice for PM rating is unexplainable.

  • 47% of the respondents rate the Centre’s handling of the economy as good or outstanding. This is double the PM’s rating for Best PM Choice.

To sum up, the Mood of the Nation survey results of NDA winning 298 seats despite the economic crisis, COVID, inflation, employment and farmers’ protest shows that Modi’s popularity is still high. It cannot be low as inconsistencies pointed out above shows.

In fact, the difference between the BJP (34%) and the Congress (20%) in terms of vote share is primarily because of the Modi factor. The BJP receives one-third of its votes due to Modi’s leadership. Almost 11% in this case (1/3rd of 34%) explains most of the lead of 14% enjoyed by the BJP over the Congress (34% minus 20%).

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