India Intelligence Report

 

 

   The Hindu’s Dubious Survey Analysis

  Left-leaning national and well-respected newspaper The Hindu, published a survey it conducted on national perception of Government performance with dubious analysis slanted to favor Sonia Gandhi and anti-National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
 

 

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Left-leaning national and well-respected newspaper The Hindu, published a survey it conducted on national perception of Government performance with dubious analysis slanted to favor Sonia Gandhi and anti-National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Over the last few years, The Hindu has been increasingly communist in viewpoint and anti-NDA that it seems to have lost objectivity while analyzing data from published data.

At this point, it is important to note that we have only published data of the State of the Nation Survey sponsored by The Hindu, CNN, and IBN. The methodology in terms of representative population selected seems balanced but nothing is known about the educational levels, income groups, or political affiliations of survey participants to critique the survey. Here are some glaring partisan positions:

The survey concludes that their respondents found that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has a clear edge over the NDA but the survey data published says that while 24% of respondents said that NDA was better in January 2006 and August 2006, the UPA favorable number increased by 1% during this time. It is strange that The Hindu sees this 1% rise as “UPA has a clear edge over NDA.”

Another table shows that 35% of respondents feel that Gandhi should become Prime Minister (PM) while 25% want Manmohan Singh to continue and another 10% say another Congress reader should become PM. While perfunctory analysis would show that Gandhi has higher support than Singh, deeper thought would show that there is an equal percentage point against Sonia Gandhi while an overwhelming 65% did not want Gandhi to be PM or are not sure.

A different table shows Gandhi’s popularity has grown from 27.2% in May 2004, to 23.8% in January 2006, to 27.9% in August 2006. The Hindu concludes that this means that there is a “Steady rise in Sonia Gandhi’s popularity” when data clearly shows that Gandhi’s popularity has only come back to about where it was in May 2004. More importantly, 29% of respondents did not choose her or other “leaders” on the list. In fact, if anything, Singh’s popularity shows the highest rise with .2% in May 2004 to 8.6% in January 2006 to 12.0% in August 2006 or a 59% increase in popularity compared to a 2.5% increase for Gandhi.

Then in a series of tables, The Hindu says that the “UPA on the upswing” by looking at the swing votes where UPA seems to have gained a 7.9% popularity increase at the cost of NDA (5.1%), Left (1.2%), and Others (1.6%). However, other tables show that 29% of respondents said that UPA Performance was “Worse than expected” and 27% without an opinion. Another table show 57% of respondents was only “Somewhat satisfied” to “Totally dissatisfied” and 19% without opinions. What this means is 24%-59% are “Totally satisfied” to “Somewhat satisfied.” Furthermore, on almost all major issues facing voters such as “Price rise,” “Farmer’s condition,” “Employment opportunities,” “National security,” “Corruption,” and “Country’s standing in the world” respondents thought that they country was much worse off except under the unclear “Country’s standing in the world” issue. Therefore, it is questionable how The Hindu analysis that the “UPA is on the upswing” is perfunctory and incomplete.

Clearly, the NDA has fallen out of favor because of withdrawal of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from it, internal fighting, death of popular politicians, ageing of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, lack of vision of the future, lack of cooperative and constructive policies, etc. It does not automatically translate to “UPA is on the upswing,” “Sonia preferred over Manmohan Singh,” or “Steady rise in Sonia Gandhi’s popularity.” The published data clearly shows that people do not think that UPA is faring well. However, the large gaps in the survey (no opinion numbers) could also lead to a conclusion that respondents are confused and do not see a viable alternative to the UPA. There is no information available on why there are such a high percentage of non-respondents to certain questions.

While one cannot contest statements projecting number of seats accompanying the survey tables because of lack of visibility into raw survey data, the conclusions of the survey are clearly dubious and reflective of polarization of the nation based on political stakes.