Opinion polls: Whether they are right or wrong, AAP is surely leading the race
The data available appears to be congruent with my perception from social media.
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Read the counter view here: Delhi elections: How Kejriwal has misused opinion polls
The poll survey results are out and will not be much of a surprise to those following social media, particularly Twitter. I see the poll result details as insightful in understanding what is going right for which party and how.
The Congress seems to have dropped in popularity on every major segment of the population other than Sikhs, Dalits and Gujjars where they have improved a point in February. They have made a dramatic 5 per cent improvement among Punjabi Khatris, for some mysterious reason.
The BJP seems to have dropped in popularity in most segments in February. The only exception to this is the "Other Upper Castes" segment and those with very low or no exposure to media, where they have maintained the same share as January. Most worrying for BJP should be that they seem to not have grown in support in a single segment of the population as elections stare in the face.
The news for AAP seems very optimistic from the numbers of the survey. They have grown in most segments other than "Sikhs", where they have maintained the popularity of January and Punjabi Khatris, where they have dropped one per cent. I believe the increase in support from women is directly linked with more positivity than aggression in their campaign (which could also explain the drop for BJP) rather than specific promises. Aggression reducing space for women to participate safely, is a perception I have formed over the years.
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Coming to the campaigns, it seems that the media campaigns have worked for AAP but not for BJP. BJP's popularity remaining stable among those with little or no access to media sort of points to their campaigns and public appearances being the reason for disenchantment rather than practical issues or discontent on the ground.
In contrast, the first time I caught sight of photos on Twitter with Aam Aadmi Party volunteers spelling "MufflerMan" by standing in a row, holding one letter each in Delhi's biting winter, an important part of the AAP appeal crystallized in my mind. Volunteers wear their love for the party on their sleeves and are eager to help you find reasons to love it too. This was bolstered with relentless conviction, hope, volunteerism - you can't buy this. In a Delhi used to pompous egos and grandeur as a display of worth, being valued and persuaded and listened to has its own emotional appeal. The ability to take themselves lightly keeps them approachable.
While the BJP was making relentless attempts to pull AAP down, and the Congress was busy keeping itself irrelevant to current affairs, the upbeat Delhi Dialogue information shared as easy to understand graphics drew attention with promises relevant to making daily life easy. This also reflects in the increase in popularity across all educational levels. AAP appears to have strengthened its popularity very effectively by understanding the priorities of voters.
This is what had got BJP popularity during the Lok Sabha campaign and BJP, ironically, is making the same mistake that AAP made during the Lok Sabha polls by fixating on the opponent to the point of forgetting own vision. Talk of role reversal.
BJP's floundering has been evident, with various methods tried and discarded, from early Modi rallies to a helicopter CM candidate and more recently sneering advertisements. It isn't so difficult to realize that what the BJP really needs is a time machine to go back and declare Delhi Assembly Elections immediately after the stupendous victory of the Lok Sabha Elections. Why they did not do that remains a mystery. It was the top apprehension of every AAP supporter or even person who did not wish for BJP to gain more power.
Or who knows? The election results could still prove them to be right.
I am skeptical about poll surveys and believe that they are about as right as they are wrong. At the same time, the data available appears to be congruent with my perception from social media.
It cannot be denied that AAP appears to be on solid ground at least with the data in hand, if it takes this momentum through.