June 19, 2021

The Times of Bengal

Manusher Sathe,Manusher Pashe

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 | Longest elections did not help BJP, finds CSDS-Lokniti Survey

2 min read

The eight-phase elections in West Bengal that went on for four-and-a-half weeks have been described as the longest State elections India has ever seen. The post-poll survey data suggest that this probably did not help the BJP in what is known as micro-management.

West Bengal Assembly Elections | Longest elections did not help BJP


In overall terms, as many as 24% or one in every four voters of West Bengal decided who they are going to vote for at the very last minute or a day or two before Voting Day, and among such voters, it was the Trinamool Congress and not the BJP that did exceedingly well. While the ruling party secured 54% of its vote, the BJP was way behind at 33% (Table 1). Any attempt by the BJP to turn things around at the last minute through targeted campaigning did not seem to have worked.

West Bengal Assembly Elections | Longest elections did not help BJP


It was not just among the late deciders, but even among the campaign-time deciders (those who decided their vote choice during the campaign or after the announcement of candidates) the Trinamool again enjoyed a sizeable advantage over the BJP. The ruling party secured 49% votes of such voters whereas the BJP was a good 12 percentage points behind at 37%. This finding is particularly significant when compared with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Back then, the BJP had stolen a march over the Trinamool precisely among this segment of campaign-time deciders, enjoying a two percentage point vote lead.

The only category of voters among whom the BJP managed to put up somewhat of a fight this time were the before campaign deciders. Forty six per cent respondents had actually made up their mind early. Among them, 42% said they voted for the BJP as against 44% for the Trinamool. Significantly, the overall pattern of late and campaign-time deciders giving the Trinamool an advantage over the BJP does not change when we break down the voting preferences data of late and campaign-time deciders by Phases (Table 2).

(The author is a Research Associate at Lokniti-CSDS, Delhi.)


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