These surveys are conducted either through the state intelligence department or private firms. Since it takes a lot of time and manpower to cover a state, they might engage one firm for every district. (Image: AFP)
As assembly polls near, all political parties are eager to know the ground realities and employ private research groups to conduct surveys. These tell the parties about the strength of their candidates, the popularity of schemes, and the trends in previous elections
In a recent party meeting, Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao expressed confidence that the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) would win 95-105 of the total 119 seats in the upcoming assembly polls. He added that this was revealed in surveys conducted by the party.
As the polls near, all political parties are eager to know the ground realities and employ private research groups to conduct surveys. These tell the parties about the strength of their candidates, the popularity of schemes, and the trends in previous elections.
When asked about the methodology, Srinivas Reddy from Micro Studies and Research group, said: “The sample size and methods depend on the objective of the survey. The size varies between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of voters in a particular geographical area or demographics. We employ Stratified Random Sampling to choose the respondents from the voters’ list. Surveys are conducted to understand the popularity of a government or the performance of an elected representative. Some questions are qualitative. For example, if a respondent says that the performance is bad, we proceed to ask the reason behind the answer. Both face-to-face and online surveys are done. If we are engaged by one political party, then we do not work for any other party in the same state at the same time.”
These surveys are conducted either through the state intelligence department or private firms. Since it takes a lot of time and manpower to cover a state, they might engage one firm for every district.
Speaking to News18, Phani Bhushan Kukkadapu, a political strategist and entrepreneur, said: “We conduct analytical surveys at the MPTC, ZPTC levels which help the party to choose candidates for tickets. Sometimes, students are engaged to conduct these surveys.”
He says that data analysis on the ground can throw up interesting trends. “For example, in a polling booth, it might be found that the Congress candidate received the highest number of votes during the MLA election, but it might be reversed in the MP election. We create questions to understand these discrepancies. In such cases, the respondents say that they voted for the candidate rather than the party as he is a good candidate.”
Such micro surveys show the thought process of voters. “For example, if we find many Praja Rajyam voters in an area, we will see if they can be converted to Jana Sena. We assume that since both parties are run by the Mega Family (actors Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan), voters will vote the same way. However, what we might find is that a popular Congress candidate joined PRP and people voted for him,” he added.
The data can be collected through the IVRS method too. Surveys are conducted to gauge the popularity of schemes like Dalit Bandhu. Some of the beneficiaries of the schemes might become campaigners for the party. It’s more difficult to conduct surveys in urban areas as voters do not have the time to cooperate.