Chief ministers of various states are in the news. From those of big states like Uttar Pradesh to mid-size ones like Punjab to small ones like Uttarakhand are all facing ‘CM woes’.
Much has been debated about the internal party conflicts, leadership troubles and factionalism brewing in these states that ultimately challenge the authority of the CM and the strength of his/her government. But in a one-person-one-vote electoral democracy such as India, what ultimately matters is how the voters rate their CM, regardless of what party high commands or political experts think.
Prashnam is launching a quarterly CM approval ratings for various states in India. In the first round, we have picked 13 states that account for nearly 67 per cent of India’s population — Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
We have deliberately not included states that went to polls recently – Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Assam because it is still early days for the respective CMs. We were unable to survey Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh because, currently, we do not have a panel in place in these states. We hope to include these states in subsequent rounds.
Nearly 17,500 voters across these 13 states were asked this question, in one of the largest such surveys of chief minister ratings in the country:
What do you think of the performance of your chief minister (CM’s name) in his tenure?
1.) Performance is bad and he should not come back as the CM
2.) Performance is OK but I will not vote for him again
3.) Performance is good and I want him back as the CM
4.) I do not have a view
The most popular
Nearly half (49 per cent) of all voters surveyed in Maharashtra thought the performance of CM Uddhav Thackeray was good, and they will vote for him again. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, with 44 per cent of votes, came next. Third was Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot with 40 per cent of the surveyed voters in his state approving of his performance.
The most unpopular
Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh is the most unpopular CM of all the states surveyed by Prashnam. Sixty per cent of those surveyed in Punjab said the CM’s performance was bad, and that they do not want him back. A further 15 per cent felt his performance was ok but they will not vote for him again. Overall, a whopping 75 per cent of voters surveyed in Punjab do not want Capt. Amarinder Singh to return.
Uttarakhand is a special case since the state just got a new chief Minister who is the third to govern the state in less than a year’s time. So, instead of making it specific to the current CM who is nearly two weeks old, our Uttarakhand survey was tweaked to ask voters about the performance of all the CMs in the current assembly combined. Forty-seven per cent respondents felt the performance of their CMs was bad and a significant 31 per cent felt it was OK but they will not vote for them again. So nearly 80 per cent (47+31) of voters surveyed in Uttarakhand do not approve of the performance of their CMs. This is a massive disapproval rating.
In India, it is an established practice among political scientists to treat anti-incumbency as a measure of leaders’ performance. In most Western democracies, it is the approval ratings that measure anti-incumbency. Hence, it is appropriate to measure disapproval levels of CMs since anti-incumbency is a given for most elected leaders in India.
Borrowing from the management tool of Net Promoter Score (NPS), used in businesses to calculate favourability ratings of a product or service, we calculated a Net Disapproval Rating (NDR) for CMs of states that were surveyed. It is a simple metric where the percentage of people approving their CM’s performance is deducted from the percentage of people who disapprove. In this example, NDR is calculated as ‘Bad’ plus ‘OK (but won’t vote)’ minus ‘Good’. Higher the NDR, the more disliked is the CM while a lower NDR means a more popular CM.
It is clear from this table that Uddhav Thackeray and Shivraj Chouhan are the most popular CMs while the three Uttarakhand CMs and Capt. Amarinder Singh are the most unpopular. Noticeably, Gujarat has the third highest NDR score reflecting the unpopularity of Vijay Rupani. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath is the fifth most popular CM, contrary to the recent narratives over his performance. Uttarakhand, Punjab, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh are all going to polls next year.
Prashnam, in keeping with its principles of transparency and integrity, makes available the entire raw data of this survey for analysts and researchers to verify and analyse further.
Rajesh Jain is founder, Prashnam, an AI technology start-up that aims to make opinion gathering more scientific, easy, fast, and affordable. Views are personal.
The article is part of ThePrint-Prashnam Vox Pop series.
(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)