BJP gains, Cong wanes,TINA for Naveen: OTV-Probe Research poll

Bhubaneswar: The first opinion poll after the Assembly elections in 2014 conducted by Odisha Television (OTV) in association with Probe Research to take a popularity check on the political parties in the State has revealed that BJP seems to be making progress as both BJD and Congress have seen their vote share dip in the last 8 months.

The poll which surveyed 10,081 respondents across 88 Assembly constituencies between December 24, 2014, and January 8, 2015, shows that BJP in the 8-month period since the 2014 Assembly elections has increased its voters share by 8%. BJP vote share has increased from 18% to 26%.

The OTV-Probe Research opinion poll gives a clear picture that Congress is losing its grip as the principal opposition party in Odisha. In comparison to the last Assembly election, the vote-share of Congress has dropped from 26% to 15%, a drop by 11%. Maximum benefits have gone to the BJP in terms of rise in vote-share. The BJD has lost only 2% votes in last eight months. Its vote-share has dropped from 44% to 42%.

In terms of performance of the incumbent government, while 61% of the respondents feel that it has been satisfactory, 33% are disappointed with the performance of the government. Further breaking down the performance metrics of the State government, the poll reveals that 24% attribute strong and able leadership as the biggest achievement of the incumbent government.

Second attribute on the performance chart was stability. As much as 16% of the respondents feel that providing a stable government is the biggest achievement of the current regime. While 9% feel that the state government has achieved better law and order situation, 15% are of the opinion that the state government has failed and achieved ‘Nothing.’

Corruption, unemployment, price rise and drinking water problems have been cited as the major short-comings of the current regime. As much as 21% of the sample feels that corruption is the biggest blemish while 18 % opine unemployment, 15 % price rise and 12 % drinking water problems as the biggest failures of the current government.

During the course of the survey, the voters of the State were asked to opine whether they would like to re-elect or change the BJD government. The survey findings reveal that 60% voters intend to re-elect while 34 % voters opted for a change in state government.

A comparison between Narendra Modi and Naveen Patnaik indicate that 43% voters across the State believe Patnaik to be better for the development and progress of the State as against 33% voters who perceive it is Narendra Modi, indicating brand ‘Naveen’ is still more popular than brand ‘Modi’ in Odisha.

As a potential successor to the incumbent chief minister, if Naveen expresses unwillingness to continue and opts to resign, 38% voters within the ruling party believe none of the BJD leaders including members of Naveen family as potential replacement. Further substantiating Naveen’s place in the minds of voters almost every four voters out of ten voters still believe ‘There is No Alternative'(TINA) to Naveen.
Out of those who stated that they prefer a seasoned BJD leader as the replacement of Naveen, 33% of BJD voters showed their preference for Damodar Rout, followed by Baijayant Panda (30 %), Bhartruhari Mahtab (4%) and A.U. Singhdeo (4%).
On the other hand, asked for their preference of a candidate irrespective of their party affiliation, 17% think Rout to be a perfect replacement followed by Baijayant Panda (BJD, 15 %), Dharmendra Pradhan (BJP, 14%) and Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo (BJP, 8 %). Interestingly, as per the survey, none of the Congress leaders seem to enjoy any popularity as the replacement for the incumbent chief minister.

Whether Naveen’s family members are best suited to replace him as the chief minister of the State, the survey found 5% preferring Prem Patnaik (elder brother) while 3% showed their preference for Arun Patnaik (nephew). The support base of Geeta Mehta (sister of Naveen) is less than a percent.

At the party level, the findings clearly indicate base-erosion of Congress in the State and the principal Opposition space is being taken over by the BJP. The survey reveals 48% people across the State perceive BJP is looking as a better alternative to BJD in State while only 18% perceive Congress to be the same.