Our fate is hung as score reads 1-1 in war of polls

A new week, a new opinion poll, and a new winner! With five days to go for the first phase of the Karnataka elections, the latest pre-poll survey says the BJP is leading the race and may inch towards the majority mark in the 224-member assembly or fall just short by a few seats in a hung assembly.

The poll was conducted last week by Development and Research Services (DRS) for the newly launched television channel, INX News. Coming as it does a week after CNN-IBN-Deccan Herald poll which gave a slim majority to the Congress, the scoreline reads 1-1 in the great battle of opinion polls.

A third poll to be published later this week gives the Congress the edge.

According to DRS’ managing director G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, the BJP is likely to be tantalizingly close to a majority (with or without a simple majority) with almost the same share of the popular vote as that of the Congress. The half-way mark is 113.

“In that event, the Congress could end up with just about half of the BJP tally and with almost the same number of seats (65) it won in 2004 or even less in the 224-member assembly. The JD(S) is likely to be close behind the Congress with a tally of 30-45 seats,” Rao writes in the Mint.

The unusual poll arithmetic in Karnataka, the BJP’s stint in power, the sympathy following its ouster by the JDS, and the leadership provided by B.S. Yediyurappa are the reasons the BJP is ahead, according to the DRS-INX poll.

In the poll conducted last week, 43% voters across the state blamed the Congress for the price rise, while 26% laid the blame on the JD(S) and only 17% on the BJP. As the BJP has been harping on both the themes of betrayal and price rise, it tends to benefit from these issues.

Rao says there are three factors that could blunt the BJP’s advantage.

First, the danger of the party’s upper caste and urban supporters not turning up to vote in the scorching summer. Second, a revolt in constituencies against recent entrants and defectors. And third, the demolitation of constituencies.

Another poll published in this week’s issue of The Week magazine says it’s going to be a hung assembly. The Congress is expected to win 89-97 seats, the BJP 83-91 seats, the JDs 13-21, and others 19-27. The survey was conducted in 110 constituencies among 5,481 respondents.

Read the full article: BJP, the favoured party in Karnataka