The Hindu has been presenting the findings of a CNN-IBN & CNBC-TV18 ‘State of the Nation Poll’ "State of the Nation" poll, conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. Ofcourse, CNN-IBN also debated them everyday and I haven't seen any of them. The findings of this poll have been published over 5 days. Some observations and interpretations to follow now :)
State of the Media
No no - that poll was not conducted :D. Today's poll findings were about the popularity ratings of various Chief Ministers. The results can be found here. Am just pasting a snapshot of one result below.
Now - here's my question - can anyone show or point to a link, where we can find 5 good stories about the top 5 Chief Ministers? Leave top 5 - 10 good stories of the top 10 Chief Ministers?
Let's leave CMs of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala out of this survey - they just won landslide victories, so their popularity is expected.
- What is it that you always hear about Chattisgarh? Salwa Judum, SPO, Naxalites, law and order.
- What is it that you hear about Gujarat? 2002. Nothing more, nothing less.
- What is it that you hear about Orissa? Last we knew, farmers protesting about land acquisition and before that Rahul Gandhi's visit to Niyamagiri
- What is it that you commonly hear about Bihar? Nitish Kumar is good, bought hope blah blah. One, one indepth story of about how he became so popular?
- What is it that you hear about Madhya Pradesh?? Nothing! (except for having to hear from their former CM, Digvijay Singh on a daily basis!)
- What is it that you hear about Uttarakhand? Maybe many of us will even forget that such a state exists, given the kind of coverage!
- What is it that you hear about Assam? Once in 5 years, when there are elections. That's all.
If we watch and read the publications that published these results (and others too), all we will know is that the above 7 states are either screwed or don't exist!! How come their admistrators are so popular then? Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa has a 51% popular rating. 51% !! And what do we know about him?
The question here is not of media bias - we don't hear of good stories from Rajasthan either (a Congress ruled state). The observation here is the kind of negative and banal coverage silly issues get on the english TV media. The above survey results are proof enough of their severe disconnect from the masses of the country.
State of the UPA
Almost every index that was surveyed showed UPA in extreme poor light.
On Terrorism ( the most shocking thing here is that 61% actually thought government's response to terrorism was good in 2009!!) And if one were to go by the commentary of the english TV media - Chidambaram is the best Home Minister the country ever had. The same media house publishes a survey which shows the confidence declined by a whopping ~30% during his time. Another disconnect? (assuming the survey is true).
On price rise (blame on the Central government)
On Corruption (full page here) only one snapshot of a summary below:
Yet, Rahul as PM!
And finally the one thing the entire media wants to happen - Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister of India. 19% respondents want him to become Prime Minister.
Except for the survey on Rahul Gandhi, all the other surveys had detailed break-ups of "urban", "rural", "literate", "college" etc. It will also be interesting to note what these segments think about Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. The survey (some good questions on the methodology here) covered 73% of rural areas, and it is not surprising Rahul Gandhi get 19% thumbs up as the Prime Minister.
Many have already analysed why despite the congress falling down, the BJP hasn't rised. It is BJP's own failing to counter a massive PR propaganda of the Rahul Gandhi machinery. The media went overdrive to project Rahul Gandhi as an entity that has nothing to do with the UPA government. Look at the state government results - the percieved "Rahul magic" does not work. When it comes to national level politics, then the perception of people is bound to change. Rural people (in general) interact more with the state government - for them a Prime Minister might not mean as much as the Chief Minister means. Urban people are lazy and impulsive - an image of Rahul Gandhi "fighting" for farmers is enough for them to think that he is "the" man. And quite frankly, BJP has so far failed in countering this PR propaganda.
And another main drawback is that the BJP still doesn't have a face for this 2014 campaign (perhaps things will be clear in 2012, post UP elections but any delay beyond that will be damaging). We still don't know if Congress will declare Rahul as PM, but for sure he is their face for any campaign.
A split up of this 19% will reveal much more than what is hidden. I have sent a mail to email@example.com but haven't received any mail yet. (Update, I just got a reply, and the results are astounding! - below)
Looks like the PR machinery of Rahul Gandhi is turning out to be a success :( .
However, look at the snapshot below.
"The sentiment against the UPA continuing in power is stronger in urban areas and among the upper classes. While in rural areas, the sentiments against the UPA is strong, there are still more people among the sections who want it to continue in power".
Hence a split up of these areas when it comes to the Prime Minister is crucial to understand the Rahul Gandhi "phenomenon". Plus there is little to cheer about - look at that survey. Vajpayee's popularity was 38% in 2004. And yet NDA lost.
By the way, the survey on Prime Minister itself has 3 exclusive questions on Rahul Gandhi.
Padayatra? Show me ONE article that gives us the distance he travelled on foot? Just one.