In the survey, ‘Better Employment Opportunities’ emerged as the most important poll issue.

In a pan-India voters’ survey conducted by The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), close to three lakh voters spoke about roughly thirty-one issues of voters’ priorities. The survey also recorded people’s perception of the Narendra Modi government’s performance on factors that are influencing voting behaviour.

The survey findings show that the government’s performance score on the top 10 voters’ priorities has been voted as below average (Less than 3 out of a maximum score of 5), pointing to the disillusionment of voters with the incumbent government’s performance.

Specifically, the government has fared poorly on the Employment Opportunities parameter, which emerged at the top of voters’ priority. On all of the top 10 priorities, the BJP government has been scored below average.

All India Importance of Top 10 Governance Issues (Source: ADR)

It is important to note that agriculture related governance issues featured predominantly in the top 10 voters’ priorities. For instance, Availability of Water for Agriculture was ranked sixth, followed by Agriculture Loan Availability, Higher Price Realization for Farm Products and Agriculture Subsidy for Seeds/Fertilizers respectively.

Furthermore, the worst performance of the government, as rated by the voters, was on the issues of encroachment of public lands, lakes etc., training for jobs, lower food prices for consumers and mining/quarrying. Interestingly enough, per the survey, government action in the areas of strong defence/military, terrorism and eradication of corruption were also rated as worst.

Top 10 Voters’ Priorities and Performance Scores in India (Source: ADR)

To assess voters’ preferences, they were asked to list their top five priorities. These voters’ priorities were further analysed in relation to the performance of the government on those issues as perceived by the voters on a three-level scale of good, average and bad.

All other governance issues (including Terrorism and Strong Defence/Military) feature much later. this, according to ADR, is because of lack of effective governance in these areas, that is causing deprivation to the average Indian voter besides also leading to the denial of their fundamental rights like Right to live with human dignity as embodied in the Article-21 of the Constitution.

Significantly, in relation to voting candidates with criminal antecedents, maximum number of voters (36.67%) felt that people vote for such candidates because they are unaware of his/her criminal records. 35.89% voters are also willing to vote for a candidate with criminal records if the candidate has done good work in the past. Although 97.86% voters felt that candidates with criminal background should not be in Parliament or State Assembly, only 35.20% voters were aware that they could get information on criminal records of the candidates.

Conducted between October-December 2018, the survey covered 534 Lok Sabha constituencies and 2,73,487 voters. The respondents were a cross-sectional, representative sample of the population who were selected using a partially purposive sample selection procedure.

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