Has Nitish Kumar read the minds of Bihar's voters well? Yes and no, says a snap opinion poll which shows support among JD(U) voters for his decision to break the Grand Alliance to go with the BJP, but indicates that they were prepared to vote for the Opposition in 2019.
CVoter conducted a snap poll on Thursday, interviewing 1,071 randomly selected respondents from all demographics across 228 assembly segments of Bihar. The data was weighted to known population profile and the margin of error was +/- 3% at the state level.
The results of the poll indicate that JD(U) and BJP voters support Nitish's decision to go with the BJP. Surprisingly, though, 40% of Congress voters and 30% of RJD voters too support his decision. One key reason for this could be the feeling across parties that RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav's son Tejashwi Yadav should have resigned -- nearly 70% of RJD voters feel that Tejashwi should have resigned to keep the alliance together.
Overall, 55% of respondents said that they would vote for a BJP-JD(U) alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, while fewer than 30% said that they would vote for an RJD-Congress alliance. However, nearly one out of four JD(U) voters said that they would vote for an RJD-Congress alliance, indicating that Nitish will not be able to carry all his 2015 voters over to the NDA.
More worryingly for Nitish, a majority of JD(U), RJD and Congress voters said that they would have voted for the Grand Alliance in 2019 if it had remained intact.
In 2015, the Grand Alliance had a combined vote share of 42%, with the RJD winning the most seats with the most votes. A post-poll analysis by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies indicated that the JD(U) had greater success transferring its votes to the RJD in the seat-sharing arrangement than the other way around.