Survey tries to analyse voting behaviour of the electorate

Over half of the electorate in Puducherry – 61.97% — have identified better employment opportunities as their top priority when it comes to specific governance issues followed by better hospitals/primary health care centres (54.02%) and better roads (38.33%), according to a survey conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The performance of the Narayanasamy-headed Congress government was rated 2.98 on a scale of 5 (below average) on the parameter better employment opportunities, while for better hospitals/primary healthcare centres, the rating was 3.02, and for better roads 3.26, which was rated as above average.

The findings are a part of the Puducherry Survey Report 2018 conducted by ADR and RA Asterisc Computing and Data Solutions Pvt. Ltd (RAAC).

The survey covered 500 respondents across Puducherry between October and December 2018.

For urban voters, the topmost priorities were better employment opportunities (77%), better hospitals/primary healthcare centres (64%) and noise pollution (52%), while in rural areas in the UT, the priorities were drinking water (43%), agriculture subsidy for seeds/fertilizers (42%) and better hospitals/primary healthcare centres (38%).

According to the survey, the performance of the government on rural voters’ priorities of drinking water (2.84 on a scale of 5) and better hospitals/primary healthcare centres (2.93) was rated as below average, while for agriculture subsidy for seeds/fertilizers (3.21), the performance was rated above average.

In rural Puducherry, the government has performed poorly on availability of water for agriculture (2.91) and in creating better employment opportunities (2.93).

Voting behaviour

The survey also tried to analyse the voting behaviour on parameters such as factors influencing voting behaviour, opinion regarding candidates with criminal background contesting in elections and voter awareness regarding the role of crime and money.

According to the Puducherry Survey Report 2018, a majority of the respondents said the Chief Minister candidate was the most significant reason for voting (Important: 46% and Very Important: 33%), followed by the candidate concerned (Important: 67% and Very Important: 12%), followed by the candidate’s party (Important: 46% and Very Important: 21%).

About 43% of the voters rated distribution of cash, liquor, gifts important while 10% rated it as a very important factor in voting for a particular candidate in an election.

Similarly, 82% of the voters stated that their own opinion mattered the most while deciding which candidate to vote for in an election, followed by voters for whom opinion of their spouse was important (9%) and voters for whom local political leaders (3%) mattered the most.

About 65% of the voters knew that distribution of cash and gifts is illegal. Caste and religion are important factors for 40% of the voters in choosing the candidates with criminal records. A whopping 99% of the voters felt that candidates with criminal background should not be in Parliament or the State assembly while only 32% voters knew that they could get information on criminal records of the candidates.

Other important factors in voting for candidates with criminal background were that people were unaware about the criminal records of such candidates (34%), followed by cases against these candidates were not of serious nature (32%) and because these candidates spend generously for elections (27%).

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