The unthinkable is now being predicted. Prime Minister Modi could be on a treacherous wicket in 2019.
The Lokniti-CSDS-ABP Mood of the Nation Survey, published a fortnight ago, threw up a faint prospect of the ruling party’s defeat. A few of its topline findings are astonishingly contrarian:
Modi is now only marginally ahead of Rahul in voter support; his 17 percentage points lead has fallen to only 10 percentage points. An equal 43% like both Modi and Rahul; and since fewer people dislike Rahul, his “net likeability” is actually better than Modi’s.
Since January this year, there have been a large number of bye-elections scattered all over the country, the results of which provide an authentic empirical validation of the polled CSDS data. The time period of the CSDS survey is a perfect match; it surveyed 16,000-odd respondents from January through May this year.
We compared the results of the “real world sample” of 10 parliamentary and 21 assembly bye-elections, spread over 15 states, in which over 1.25 crore people have actually cast their votes for nearly 19 political parties, after the Gujarat Assembly Elections in December 2017. We excluded the smaller parties.
The results are dramatic. The perfect overlap between the bye-elections’ real voting data and CSDS’ survey percentage is spooky! It gives a whole new meaning to the adage that truth is stranger than fiction:
While the following may still be erroneous or turn out to be exaggerated, they certainly enjoy a stronger ring of truth after the validation by the bye-elections’ polling data:
While a lot could change once Modi hits the campaign trail and cranks up his legendary skills to spin a narrative of hope for the electorate, a few things are clear. Rahul is a push-over only among Modi bhakts (devotees); for all other voters, he is slowly but surely emerging as an option they could pin their faith on. Modi has to re-invent himself and his pitch; the jury is out on what that could be.
2019 is wide open!