Karnataka Assembly polls 2023 is scheduled to take place on 10 May. The South First-Peoples Pulse pre-poll survey shows that the state is headed for a close contest resulting in a fractured mandate, with Congress emerging as the single-largest party.
The South First Karnataka 2023 opinion poll, conducted between 25 March to 10 April, shows that a change of government is on the anvil, but none of the three major parties — the BJP, Congress and the JD(S) — are predicted to cross the halfway mark of 113 in the total 224 assembly seats.
Who is voting for whom in which region?
The South First-Peoples Pulse 2023 Karnataka opinion poll shows that none of the three key parties have managed to create a new voting block which could change voting patterns.
In the Kittur Karnataka (previously Mumbai Karnataka) region, where influential communities include the Lingayats, Kurubas, Scheduled Caste-Left (SC-Left)- Madigas, SC-Right- Holeyas, Muslims, and ST Nayakas, the BJP is projected to have an edge.
In the Kalyana Karnataka (previously Hyderabad Karnataka) region, where Lingayats, Muslims, SCs/STs, and Kurubas wield influence, the Congress is projected to have an edge.
In Central Karnataka, which has Lingayat, Kuruba, ST Naikda, SC Adi Karnataka, and Lambani communities as influential groups, the contest is close between the BJP and the Congress.
Coastal Karnataka, presumed to be BJP’s bastion, is all set to throw up a surprise. The region, which has Mogaveeras, Brahmins, Edigas, Christians, Muslims, Tuluvas and Bunts as influential communities, is set to be a close contest between the Congress and the BJP.
The Old Mysuru region that has the Vokkaliga, Lingayat, Kuruba, and the SC Adi Karnataka communities as influential groups, a close contest is projected between the Congress and the JD(S).
The Bengaluru region, which has Vokkaligas, Brahmins, Muslims, and Reddys as influential groups, is set to see a three-way fight between the Congress, BJP and the JD(S).
South First January Poll: Corruption is top issue for voters in Karnataka
Muslim consolidation, impact of quota changes
Caste continues to play a key role in electoral outcomes in Karnataka and this election is no different.
The South First-Peoples Pulse 2023 Karnataka opinion poll shows that Muslims as a community have consolidated in favour of Congress. The pre-poll survey predicts that parties like the AIMIM and SDPI aren’t set to win any seats.
A caste and community wise assessment shows that 51 percent forward caste respondents favoured BJP while only 18 percent batted for Congress. Nine percent forward caste respondents picked JD(S) and 22 percent chose “others”.
Vokkaligas are firmly with the JD(S) with 45 per cent of respondents from the community picking former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s party. As many as 33 percent respondents from the Vokkaliga community picked the Congress, while 20 percent respondents chose the BJP. A minuscule two percent opted for “others”.
Lingayats overwhelmingly support the BJP, with 67 percent respondents from the community picking the saffron party. About 22 percent chose the Congress, while only seven percent picked the JD(S). Just four percent respondents from the Lingayat community chose “others”.
Among respondents from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 40 percent picked the Congress as their choice. About 35 percent OBCs picked the BJP, while 10 percent chose the JD(S). A considerable chunk of 10 percent respondents chose “others”.
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Dalit preferences in 2023 Karnataka opinion poll
Within the SCs, the South First-Peoples Pulse pre-poll survey shows that 47 percent respondents from the Madiga community chose the Congress, while 39 percent picked BJP. Only eight percent picked the JD(S) and six percent chose “others”.
In the Holeya community, 39 percent of the respondents picked the Congress while 33 percent chose BJP; 23 percent picked the JD(S), and five percent chose “others”.
Respondents from other Dalit communities showed a preference for the Congress, with 42 percent picking the grand old party; 33 percent chose BJP, while 17 percent picked the JD(S), and eight percent chose “others”.
STs are split almost evenly between the BJP and the Congress — 43 percent chose the Congress while 42 percent picked the BJP; 11 percent from the community chose the JD(S) and four percent picked “others”.
The most impactful consolidation, however, is seen among Muslims.
An overwhelming majority of 85 percent Muslims picked the Congress. Just four percent chose the BJP, and nine percent opted for the JD(S). Only two percent chose “others”.
The South First-Peoples Pulse pre-poll survey shows that this consolidation of Muslims has increased Congress’ vote share.
What explains voting preference?
Lingayats, who make up around 16 percent of Karnataka’s population, have largely supported the BJP. This election too, the South First-Peoples Pulse 2023 Karnataka opinion poll shows, that the community is largely backing the saffron party, but sections of Lingayats are also split between the Congress and the JD(S), depending on candidates’ personal strengths and pull in the community.
Vokkaligas, who make up 11 percent of Karnataka’s population, are firmly behind the JD(S) — considered often as a “Vokkaliga party” and led by Vokkaliga icon and former prime minister Deve Gowda.
The Congress, however, has influential leaders from the community, which has helped the party get support in regions. The community’s first preference is JD(S) and then the Congress, with not much support for the BJP.
Bigger sections of OBCs, led by the Kuruba community, continue to support the Congress for its leader Siddaramaiah’s influence. OBCs, however, also back BJP and JD(S) depending on candidates and their influence.
SC-Right is projected to be backing the Congress, with party chief Mallikarjun Kharge from the community. SC-Left, which has backed the BJP traditionally, is projected to continue the pattern.
STs, with the Valmikis as its dominant sub-caste, are shown to be influenced by leaders like B Sriramulu as well as the BJP’s Hindutva push and hence prefer the saffron party.
South First January Poll: Congress to emerge single-largest party in Karnataka
Coastal Karnataka’s dynamics
In Coastal Karnataka, where the caste equations are different from the rest of the state, minorities like the Muslims and Christians are firmly with Congress while the Brahmins are firmly with BJP.
OBC communities like the Edigas, Mogaveeras, and Billavas are more inclined towards the BJP, but their votes are split in favour of the Congress depending on the candidates and their influence.
Other castes like the Vishwakarmas, Jains, Uparas, Balijas, Kshatriyas, and Hadpads in the region are more inclined towards the BJP, the pre-poll survey shows.
The Maratha community that wields influence in the Kittur Karnataka region is inclined towards the BJP, but the Congress too manages to get their votes, depending on the candidates.
The Basavaraj Bommai government’s decision to revoke four percent reservation to Muslims and split it between Lingayats and Vokkaligas, the survey shows, has thrown up mixed reactions.
While Lingayats expressed happiness over the increase in their reservation, Vokkaligas did not express any support for the BJP.
The pre-poll survey shows that the SC communities were unaware of the hike in quota as well as internal reservation within the SC quota.
While Muslims respondents too were unaware of the revoking of their OBC quota, the survey showed solid consolidation in favour of Congress from the community.
Karnataka 2023 opinion poll: Survey methodology
The pre-poll survey was commissioned by South First and was conducted from 25 March to 10 April by Peoples Pulse Research organisation.
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.