Modi clear favourite for PM 2014, Rahul and Nitish trail

Survey tells Cong, BJP losing whatever sheen they had remaining, Team Anna the top alternative

GN Bureau | August 31, 2012



Gujarat chief minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi emerged as the top choice as a probable prime minister among the respondents of a survey conducted by ABP News and AC-Nielsen. Modi was the favourite of 42 percent of the respondents, ahead of Rahul Gandhi (29 percent) and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (12 percent). However, the news remains bad for the two largest national parties – the combined willingness to vote for either the BJP or the Congress in the 2014 was less than 50 percent. The survey, conducted in 28 cities across the country, pitched Team Anna as the political alternative to these parties.

Within the BJP, Modi outranks all possible aspirants to the country’s top legislative post. He beats BJP veteran and former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani (51percent to 28 percent). Half of the respondents felt that aother partners in the NDA will fall in line if BJP projects him as the prime ministerial candidate while 32 percent feel otherwise. Interestingly, 44 percent feel that Modi’s acceptance would grow if he apologized for the 2002 riots while 39 percent felt that there was no need to apologise.

Team Anna could be the dark horse: The survey reports an overwhelming support for Team Anna’s decision to join politics — 64 percent said that it was a good move while a whopping 77 percent said that they would vote for its candidates. Anna Hazare also emerged as the top role model for the respondents along with former president A P J Abdul Kalam (12 percent).

Team Anna, according to the survey, is more credible than Ramdev, the BJP-endorsed face of the anti-corruption movement (75 percent to 12 percent). In north India, people prefer Team Anna over Ramdev, contradictory to all assumptions.

BJP ahead of Congress: The survey puts BJP ahead of the Congress in the race to Parliament. BJP has the backing of 27 percent of the respondents while 18 percent said that they would vote for the Congress if elections were to be held now. It get worse for the Congress as there has been a significant erosion in the number likely to vote for it among those that voted for it in 2009. The survey found that 66 percent of the respondents who sided with Congress in the last parliamentary elections are likely to vote for the party. Of the 34 percent who have decided to move away from the Congress, 8 percent said that they will go with the BJP. Of those who voted for the BJP and participated in the survey, 82 percent are likely to vote for the saffron party again and only 4 percent of those considering alternatives could vote for Congress.

In a similar survey in May, Congress had the support of 20 percent of the respondents while BJP had 28 percent support. Three months on, both the parties are facing erosion in support, at least in the 28 cities where the survey was conducted. When asked if they trusted BJP to lead a stable coalition government at the union, 49 replied in the affirmative while 32 percent said the party was not in a position to do so.

Wither brand Rahul?:  Rahul Gandhi’s popularity is in crisis — 46 percent said that they will not vote for the UPA is Rahul Gandhi is projected as its leader while 42 percent swung the other way. Prime minister Manmohan Singh evoked mixed reactions with 34 percent rating his performance poor, another 34 percent saying it was only average while 32 percent said it was good. UPA’s three years at the helm, since 2009, was rated poor or very poor by 41 percent of the respondents.

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