Here's How Delhi Voters Scored AAP's 1-Year Report Card

16/02/2016 2:34 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Cut out photographs of Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man Party, leader Arvind Kejriwal, adorns the cart of a street vendor ahead of Delhi state elections in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015. Delhi goes to the polls on Feb. 7. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

So, the Kejriwal Government has completed one year in office. And there are so many report cards floating around with such conflicting ratings that we decided to put the record straight by asking the people who voted in the Assembly elections one year ago. In order to do that we interviewed 5526 voters from the Delhi Tracker Panel in the last two weeks and then compared it with our Annual Tracker of 8107 Delhi voters in the last 12 months.

Here's what we found.

Is Arvind Kejriwal still popular?

You bet he is. At no point of time did his personal popularity dip in Delhi. The latest tracker numbers show that he has maintained consistently high approval ratings, and is way above Delhi leaders from the Congress and BJP. His popularity is not just among his traditional supporters (read low-income group, Dalits, women, youth) but extends even to opposition voters who don't really have too much to fault in his personal performance as CM of Delhi.

Q5d: Are you satisfied with the work performance of the Chief Minister of the state? * RC_C8 Crosstabulation



Q10: Best candidate to be CM of your state? * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Can AAP win Delhi if elections are held today?

You bet they will. At no point of time has the popularity of the party diminished among its supporters in Delhi. They have constantly polling a lead of above 15% over BJP in all the polls, and not just the CVoter Tracker Series. In the latest Tracker Poll the current vote share is in fact above 50% votes while BJP seems to have stuck at the core vote share of about 33%. The Congress seems to have improved ever so slightly, but has still not crossed the psychologically important threshold of 20% votes.

Q5e: Are you satisfied with the work performance of the state government? * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Is this popularity uniform at all levels?

No it isn't. In Delhi, like in all other states in India, we see a split voting phenomenon. In simple words, voters have different choices for leadership and parties at different levels. While Kejriwal is their first choice for being CM of Delhi, Modi is still the top choice for Prime Minister. Same is with party choice. If AAP is their preferred choice to rule Delhi, the same voters prefer the BJP at the helm in the Centre.



So, is there a 'buffer vote'?

Yes. About 20% of the Delhi middle class appear to be acting like a 'buffer vote' between AAP and BJP. They are NOT 'swing votes'. Typically speaking a swing vote is the one which changes sides due to the anti-incumbency factor or due to anger because of poor governance. In contrast, a buffer vote is one which can add to a different party or leader simultaneously for a positive mandate against a "third" party, which in this case seems to be the Congress.


Is it game over for Congress in Delhi?

Not at all. Just like there is a 20% anti-Congress buffer voter which works for AAP and BJP, there is an anti-BJP buffer vote of almost 30% that spreads across AAP and Congress. The Congress numbers can go up, of course, only if AAP numbers go down among the core electorate, namely Dalits, Muslims, low-income groups. As the equilibrium of these two 'buffers' works differently at Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha levels, the Congress numbers are just sandwiched between the two. Before the Arvind Kejriwal lightning struck Delhi, the game-changer in Delhi politics was Sheila Dikshit. And the fact that she is still scoring as best CM till date tells a lot about the leadership vacuum in opposition rank and file. So it's leadership momentum that the Congress really has to work on if it wants to make a comeback in state politics.

Q13: Who has been the best CM of Delhi till date? * RC_C8 Crosstabulation

% within RC_C8


The third layer: The MCD

This is where it is going to hurt the BJP the most and this is where the Congress may have its best chances of a revival. The local-level elections are all about local-level leaders. The BJP led Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is facing acute anti-incumbency. While it might seem that this would swing completely in the favour of AAP, at the micro-level election it is interesting to observe that the Congress gets an upswing, probably signifying its old network of ward-level leaders. So at the MCD level the contest is likely to be triangular one, although AAP seems to be in a clear lead at the moment.

Q5h :Are you satisfied with the work performance of the local municipality administration?


Q5i: Are you satisfied with the work performance of ward councillor?


Q15_7: The trifurcated MCD should be cancelled and re-clubbed into one. * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


How is Delhi taking the State-Centre 'blame game?'

Mixed signals on this one. Delhi voters are happy with many things, including the perceived improvement in the fight against corruption. But at the same time, the constant quarreling between the Centre and State is testing the patience of the national capital. In fact, there are indications that their patience is running out. Ask them about the 'blame game' and you will figure out that there is utter displeasure with all the three levels, be it the Centre or the state government or the MCD. The public believes that everyone is busy pointing fingers just to deflect attention from their own shortcomings. Interestingly, the responses of voters reveal a rather partisan approach too. While AAP and Congress voters are blaming the Centre, Congress and BJP voters are blaming the state government. Interesting all three - AAP, Congress and BJP voters -- are upset with the MCD. That should serve as a red flag for the saffron camp.

Q15_1: The Central government is unnecessarily interfering with the working of the Delhi Government. * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Q15_2: The Delhi government is unnecessarily blaming the Centre to hide its shortcomings. * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Q15_4: The MCD unnecessarily blames the Delhi government to hide its shortcomings. * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


How keen is Delhi to get 'full state' status?

A very crisp and clear signal on this one. Delhi voters are unhappy with all the issues related to split governance in the 'half state'. They wish to get full state status. An overwhelming majority -- more than 80% voters -- support this idea. Almost two-third of Delhi wants the Delhi Police to be under the state government. While the issue of statehood is supported by voters of all three political parties, the idea of Delhi Police under the state government is least attractive to BJP supporters.

Q15_9: Delhi should be given full statehood * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Q15_5: Should Delhi Police be brought under Delhi state government? * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Is Delhi 'happy' with governance as of today?

Doubtful. They might be happy with many things around but certainly pissed off about the great confusion on governance issues, such as the recent garbage crisis. While the BJP's support base is laying the blame squarely on the state government, AAP supporters are pointing fingers at the MCD or the Centre, both of which are run by the BJP. The Congress and Others are equally split, blaming both AAP and BJP at different levels. There is a broad consensus that the Lieutenant Governor is working more like a puppet of the central government. More than 90% of Delhiites agree that the political tussle between the state and central governments has ruined Delhi.

Q14: Whom do you hold responsible for the ongoing garbage crisis in Delhi? * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Q15_8 :The Lt. Governor has become mere puppet in the hands of the Central government. * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Q15_10:The political tussle between the state government & Central government has ruined Delhi * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


What exactly should the AAP watch out for?

Anti-establishment sentiment at the micro-level. While the majority of Delhi is happy with Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP government, there is anger brewing against MLAs, who are being seen as incompetent. It has only been one year so far and already the majority of the voters in Delhi have shown dissatisfaction with the working of their MLAs.

Generally speaking, such sentiments get divided among MLAs of different political parties. However, given that AAP has an unprecedented 67 out of 70 MLAs, the anger is bound to be ventilated in only one direction. Another thing which should worry AAP is the general perception that the Delhi government is laying more emphasis on advertisements than development. What's should alarm them even more is that every second voter AAP's core support base also shares this perception.

Q5f: Are you satisfied with the work performance of your sitting MLA? * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


Q15_6: The Delhi government is laying more emphasis on advertisements than development. * RC_C8 Crosstabulation


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