Yogi Adityanath’s popularity falling faster than standard of discourse in India: PSE poll


  • The Axis My India and India Today TV poll shows anti-incumbency has hit Yogi Adityanath
  • Yogi’s popularity is even less than that of Shivraj Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje, who have been voted out
  • Akhilesh Yadav’s popularity has gone up a few notches

Anti-incumbency seems to have set in against the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh. The Political Stock Exchange data compiled by Axis My India for the India Today Group, show that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s popularity level has slipped significantly over the last three months.

Yogi’s popularity after two years as the CM of Uttar Pradesh is 6 per cent less than that of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh at the fag end of their third terms as Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. As the BJP gets into poll mode for the Lok Sabha elections, the high level of dissatisfaction against the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh comes as the latest headache for the ruling party.

In the first tracking poll done by Axis for India Today in September, Yogi Adityanath enjoyed a popularity rating of 43 per cent. Worryingly enough for BJP supporters, the latest round of polling done by Axis shows that Yogi’s popularity has fallen by 5 per cent in the last three months. In the third week of December, only 38 per cent of the respondents said that Yogi Adtyanath was their preferred choice for the next chief minister.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav who enjoyed a popularity rating of only 29 per cent in September has jumped 8 per cent points to 37 per cent in December. In this round there is only a 1 per cent gap between the incumbent UP CM and his principal rival. Mayawati’s popularity has declined from 18 per cent to 15 per cent between September and December.

The level of dissatisfaction against Yogi Adityanath is better understood when the PSE numbers for Uttar Pradesh are compared with similar data from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where elections were held recently. In the PSE data from November, 44 per cent of the respondents wanted Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the next CM of MP, an equal number wanted Raman Singh as CM in Chhattisgarh, while only 31 per cent wanted Vasundhra Raje as CM in Rajasthan. This means that Yogi’s popularity is now 6 per cent less than the popularity of the BJP Chief Ministers who were voted out in MP and Chhattisgarh. The only BJP CM whose popularity was less than that of Yogi Adityanath was Rajasthan’s former CM Vasundhra Raje.

The problem is not limited to Yogi alone. Dissatisfaction is rapidly growing against the performance of the UP government too. Thirty five per cent of the respondents said they were completely dissatisfied with the performance of the state government in Uttar Pradesh. Only 37 per cent said they were completely satisfied. The gap between those who are completely satisfied and completely dissatisfied is now down to only 2 per cent. Nine per cent said they were somewhat dissatisfied and 12 per cent said they were somewhat satisfied.

The PSE poll was conducted by Axis My India between December 14 and 19. Telephonic interviews were conducted in all 80 Parliamentary constituencies of the state. The sample was representative of the demography and geography of the state. The poll had a sample size of 31,200.

The PSE data also has important insights into the issues that voters say are most important while determining who they want to vote for in the 2019 polls. Unemployment was considered the most important issue by 32 per cent of the respondents. Price rise was the most important issue for 21 per cent of the respondents. Agriculture was first for 17 per cent of respondents. Hindu-Muslim conflict was most important for only 9 per cent of the respondents.

CM Yogi Adityanath has also been accused of trying to polarize the recent state elections on communal lines. The PSE tracking data suggests that the strongman from Gorakhpur could have his priorities all wrong.

It’s not just the dismal performance of the state government that is worrying for the BJP, there seems to be strong support for an Opposition coalition in Uttar Pradesh. Almost half the respondents who were polled (47 per cent) in the Political Stock Exchange said that the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress should join hands in the battle against the BJP. Twenty eight per cent of the respondents were opposed to a mahagathbandan and one-fourth of those surveyed did not know where there should be an Opposition alliance or not.

The Political Stock Exchange data does not project seats and votes but the tracking data gives a sense of which way the winds are blowing in India’s most politically sensitive state. For a government’s popularity to slip to below 40 even before it has completed its second year in office is not good news for the BJP in the state.

The only saving grace for the BJP is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed to increase his personal popularity level in these three months. In September, 48 per cent of the respondents wanted Modi as the PM for a second term. In December, 51 per cent said they want Modi as the next PM. This is highly creditable since anti-incumbency seems to be showing no signs of catching up with the Prime Minister.

Rahul Gandhi’s popularity, too, has gone up in the last three months, from 22 per cent to 26 per cent. While Rahul’s supporters will rejoice over the fact that his acceptability seems to be increasing, the fact is there is still a 25 per cent gap between Rahul and Modi on the question of who should be India’s next PM.

The perception about the performance of the central government is as strong as the perception around the performance of the man who leads the government. Fifty two per cent of the respondents said they were completely satisfied with the work of the central government. Only 29 per cent said they were completely dissatisfied. There is a 23 per cent gap between those who are happy and those who are unhappy with the central government.

The BJP’s biggest hope is that the popularity of the PM and his government will help the party perform well in the 80 seats of UP. In 2014, the BJP had won 71 of the seats on offer in the state and ally Apna Dal had won two seats.

While the BJP will try to make the battle for 2019 a presidential style contest, the problem is that a growing level of anti-incumbency against the state government in Uttar Pradesh could undercut some of the goodwill enjoyed by the central government. In 2014, BJP was not in power in either the state or the centre and hence there was no anti-incumbency dragging the BJP’s prospects down. 2019 could be a different kettle of fish unless the head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt can find some way of dramatically reviving his fortunes over the next three months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *