18 Apr 2019

The BJP worker in UP lost heart today

As Phase Two polls come to a close, the Gathbandhan and the Congress have a lot to celebrate in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP worker knew this by noon today.

Narendra Nag

We have been tracking a sample of polling booths today to try and understand who was showing up as part of the overall turnout numbers the Election Commission releases. (To be clear: we are not asking questions or carrying out an exit poll).

First, the turnout numbers as of 7pm:

Constituency2014 Turnout2019 Turnout
Agra59.0659.6
Aligarh59.4862.8
Amroha7168.77
Hathras59.7861.25
Bulandshahr58.3362.14
Fatehpur Sikri61.2961.16
Mathura64.3360.56
Nagina67.8362.1

As we look at these numbers there are three things that are abundantly clear:

The anti-UPA vote that converted the pro-Modi vote to a tsunami that swept aside all contenders in 2014 is missing in Uttar Pradesh. Without it, the BJP is only competitive in its traditional burroughs.

Secondly, there is still a group of people voting for Mr Modi (versus the classical BJP voter) — typically young voters who are deeply attracted to the idea of a strong leader — but there is also a group of voters who voted for him in 2014 who are not voting for the BJP this time.

Thirdly, it’s these voters who’re staying home who are tipping the scales.

As we analysed trends emerging from the booths we are tracking, we believe it is now safe to presume that a significant portion of the Jat vote that is turning out is not voting for the BJP. The Dalit vote and Muslim also seems to have consolidated behind the Gathbandhan.

What surprised us today was how chatter amongst BJP workers died out between around 10 and 12 in the morning today. By the late afternoon, the BJP worker was openly saying there is no Modi wave left and were expressing a sense of betrayal — some of it directed towards their own party, but a lot of it towards voters they felt were betraying the country by not voting for Mr Modi.

We are doubling down on our pre-election models where we had predicted the BJP was being over-indexed, and the Congress under-indexed. While pollsters did their best to predict outcomes for the SP-BSP-RLD Gathbandhan, almost all of them wondered about how votes would transfer. We believe that a model only based on raw vote-share numbers also naturally under-indexes the Gathbandhan.

Use the vote share modifiers on our Poll Arithmetic map to address this and see what kind of a map you end up with.

If this performance continues in the next two phases, we believe the media narrative towards the Gathbandhan will shift and start calling it a “masterful political stroke” or some such moniker.

Five more phases to go, and the fun is just beginning,

These notes are an experiment in data-driven points of view. We are immersing ourselves in information screens and data patterns and allowing ourselves to connect dots. We emerge to write a note — like the one you’re reading — which is our best understanding at a given moment in time. We believe ourselves to be correct in the moment, but are happy to be proven wrong. In either case we learn and improve.

The Changing Arithmetic of Candidacy in Uttar Pradesh
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The BJP's formidable post-caste bloc