Price rise and corruption are two main “problems” flagged by voters of Karnataka, the South First-Peoples Pulse pre-poll survey shows.
Polling for Assembly elections in Karnataka will be held on 10 May and the South First Karnataka election opinion poll — conducted from 25 March to 10 April — predicts the state is headed for a fractured mandate.
With a projection of 98 seats, Congress is expected to emerge as the single-largest party, and the incumbent BJP is expected to win 92 seats, while the JD(S) is expected to win 27 seats.
The South First pre-poll survey shows that price rise is the biggest concern for voters of Karnataka, with a quarter of the respondents flagging it. Unemployment was second in the list of problems, with 20 percent of the respondents citing it as key election issue.
South First January Poll: Congress to emerge single-largest party in Karnataka
The corruption allegations against the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government in the state, too, featured among the top four issues in this election.
Sixteen percent of the respondents said corruption was a major issue. The same percentage of respondents identified minimum support price (MSP) and farmer-related issues as major concerns this polls.
Health was also seen as an issue, flagged by eight percent of the respondents. Six percent of the respondents said the Old Pension Scheme was an issue for them.
Despite all the statements and narratives, especially from BJP leaders, around communal issues, only one percent of the respondents thought communalism was an issue in Karnataka.
The opinion poll for the Karnataka elections 2023 by South First and Peoples Pulse showed that 38 percent of respondents thought the previous Congress government led by Siddaramaiah was better in comparison to the incumbent government, while 35 percent responded that the incumbent BJP government was better.
South First January Poll: Corruption is the top issue for voters in Karnataka
Key observations from survey
The South First Karnataka election opinion poll shows that, of all the three parties, the JD(S)’s Pancharathna Yatre campaign was the most successful in creating an impact among voters.
Neither the BJP’s Vijaya Sankalpa Yatra nor the Congress’ Prajadhwani Yatra managed to capture the imagination of voters. The BJP’s Booth Sankalpa Abhiyan, however, seems to have been a success.
Congress, which was projected to win 101 seats in the South First tracker poll in January this year, has seen a drop in projected seats.
The party, however, is projected to win more vote share than initially predicted, thanks to solid consolidation of Muslims in its favour.
The South First pre-poll survey shows that the Congress was in a better position during the Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi, with most common people thinking that it was likely to form a majority government, but it failed to maintain that momentum.
Compared to the BJP, the Congress branding was minimal before the Model Code of Conduct kicked in. The BJP’s national leaders have visited the state several times, while the Congress’ national leaders visited the state just one or two times.
The Congress is popularising its “poll Guarantees” like the Gruha Lakshmi, Gruha Jyothi, Anna Bhagya, and Yuva Nidhi schemes through branding, along with a registration campaign on the ground, but the party’s guarantee cards have not been distributed properly in the majority of the Assembly constituencies.
The Congress party’s guarantee scheme, too, has not reached the rural areas.
Kannada pride as an issue picked by the Congress is being highlighted, along with its charge of “40% corruption” government against the ruling BJP.
South First January Poll: AHINDA consolidation gives Congress the edge
No new voting blocks
None of the political parties have succeeded in creating a new voting block. Anti-incumbency continues to be a huge problem for the BJP, even threatening its bastion of Coastal Karnataka.
The pre-poll survey shows that the coming election could be a contest between BJP and Congress in the three districts of Coastal Karnataka which were otherwise considered walkovers for the BJP given 2018 election results.
The Bommai govenrment’s decision to hike OBC quota for Lingayats and Vokkaligas by scrapping Muslim quota has helped the BJP consolidate Lingayats who were miffed with the party, the survey suggests. Vokkaligas, however, are still firmly with the JD(S) and choose Congress as their alternative, and not the BJP.
The Bommai government’s decision to announce internal reservation among Scheduled Castes (SCs) seems to have had very little impact on the ground. A majority of the SC-Left respondents were unaware of the hike and internal quota issue.
Muslim respondents were also not aware of the issue, even though they have consolidated behind the Congress.
Communalism is projected to have an impact only in Coastal Karnataka.
Dependence on Modi
The BJP is heavily dependent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity in this election. The party’s campaign revolves around Modi and his government’s work.
A majority of the common respondents revealed that they don’t have any bad feelings about the Modi-led central government.
More than 47 percent of the respondents said that they are satisfied with the performance of the Modi government at the Centre.
Related: Divided Congress is underconfident BJP’s biggest strength in K’taka
Karnataka opinion poll methodology
The pre-poll survey was commissioned by South First and was conducted from 25 March to 10 April by the Peoples Pulse Research organisation.
The pre-poll survey report was compiled by R Dileep Reddy, director, Peoples Pulse Research organisation.
The South First pre-poll survey was conducted in 56 Assembly segments selected on the basis of Probability Proportional Methodology (PPS).
Five polling stations were selected from each Assembly segment, making up 280 polling stations.
In each polling station, 20 samples were collected.
A total of 5,600 samples were chosen such that they reflected the situation on the ground in terms of caste, religion and age.
Gender was given equal representation. The sample profile included 51 percent male and 49 percent female respondents.
The sample profile included 40 percent urban dwellers, 60 percent rural dwellers. The profile included 12 percent Muslims, 16 percent Scheduled Castes (SCs) and eight percent Scheduled Tribes (STs).
The South First pre-poll survey factors in a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.