Data suggests BJP will lose vote share in Uttar Pradesh 2019

There are many who feel that BJP will gain vote share in Uttar Pradesh.  While It may be difficult to predict who will win how many seats in 2019 Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh, there is clear evidence that BJP will lose vote share in Uttar Pradesh


Amongst the 14 States (10 million plus population) for which we have per capita data between 2014 and 2018, Only 4 other States are performing worse than Uttar Pradesh. 3 of those States are the mining dependent states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. So UP is a clear laggard when it comes to the economy.

Was it different in 2014? When we look at data between 2008 and 2013, UP was the 7th worse performing economy amongst the 20 States with greater than 10 million population. Growth was much higher of course on account of inflation.

What happens if we correct for inflation?

Between 2014 and 2018, UP would be the 3rd worse performing State (out of 14 States) having grown at 19.9% in those 4 years. This is worse than when it was the 7th worst performing State out of 20 between 2009 and 2014. Ironically, a deteriorating rank came inspite of growth improving from 18.6% to 19.9%. Which implies that some States have improved their performance faster than Uttar Pradesh.

Poor economy will hurt both the State and Central Governments. This is also why Maya lost share in 2012 and Akhilesh lost share in 2017. So it is clear that BJP will lose vote share in 2019, the quantum is a matter of argument and to be honest, we have limited data on arriving at the quantum of loss.

Please note that there is no commentary on Seat forecasts. Firstly, we donot have data on likely vote share loss and secondly, seat performance is a function of many other factors. So we continue to leave that for speculation.

Past Trends

The second important indicator that BJP will lose vote share comes from an unusual place – the assembly election results in Rajasthan

Between 1999 and 2014, the BJP vote share in Rajasthan State elections has had a 94.6% correlation with BJP vote share in Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha election. Given that BJP has lost significant vote share in the 2018 election, there is an extremely high probability that BJP will lose vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh also. Ironically there is lower correlation between Rajasthan’s Lok Sabha election and Uttar Pradesh’s Lok Sabha election. The good news for the BJP in all of this is that BJP will perform way better in the Lok Sabha election in Rajasthan than it performed in the Assembly election, the historical data is clearly indicative of this.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a good indicator of campaign momentum and whil we have data only for 19 days of March in 2019 and 31 days of March in 2014, the trend below is clear, the noise so far for the  BJP and Congress appears to be lower than 2014. This might improve over the next 10 days but it is unlikely to cross the 2014 levels. In contrast, both the regional parties seem to be performing at the same levels or better than 2014. SP and BSP had a combined vote share exceeding 42% in 2014. This will increase perhaps marginally while BJP will fall somewhat.

So people who are predicting the 2019 election must not only factor an alliance impact in Uttar Pradesh but also likely loss of vote share for the BJP in that State.

Overall, there is clear evidence that BJP will not only have to deal with a much more united opposition in 2019, they will also have to deal with a loss in vote share. This leakage analysis by Mohal Joshi lists out various scenarios when BJP loses vote share to the alliance

Source: Mohal Joshi,

Even a small 5% loss could take BJP to as low as 33 seats and anything more significant could have serious consequences for the BJP campaign in Uttar Pradesh. Of course, better candidate selection, split in opposition votes etc could reduce this leak.

Uttar Pradesh will continue to be a primary focus of attention in this election with Bengal, Odisha and TN likely to be play a critical role in the 2019 election. We wait with anticipation!

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