UPA scores high in pre-board exams

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Old 23-May-2008
UPA scores high in pre-board exams

NEW DELHI: There is some surprisingly good news for the United Progressive Alliance as it finishes four years in office.

The ratings of its government and Prime Minister aren't just holding firm, they are in some ways up from what they were a year ago. Even better for them, the proportion of people in India's biggest cities who now say they would vote for NDA if an election were held today is sharply down from last May.

An opinion poll on UPA's tenure so far, done exclusively for TOI by TNS, has revealed that only 8% of respondents feel that Manmohan has been a poor or very poor PM, against 12% a year ago. To be fair, there's also been a drop in the proportion of people who feel he has been a good or very good PM - from 58% to 52% - meaning that a sizable 40% rate him as average.

The government's ratings have changed very similarly since May last year, with 37% (against 48%) rating it good or very good, 52% (33%) rating it average and only 10% (16%) rating its performance as poor or very poor.

Happily for UPA, the fact that fewer people now view the government negatively seems to have helped it keep potential voters away from the opposition camp, towards which they appeared to be drifting a year ago.

Last year, 36% had said they would vote for the Congress or its allies if elections were held then. That number has now declined a little to 34%. More significantly, only 26% now say they would vote for NDA, against 38% last year.
Even the little that UPA has lost has been picked up by the Left, which was supported by 6% in May 2007 but now has 8% willing to vote for it in a potential general election.

Congress will be particularly cheered by the fact that in cities like Lucknow, Jaipur and Bangalore, where it is not in power at the moment, a larger proportion said they would vote for UPA than
for NDA.

The survey polled over 1,600 respondents in 10 of India's biggest cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Patna and Pune.

It was restricted to those from the top-most socio-economic categories (SEC), A and B. The age group covered by the survey was from 18 to 45.

Hearteningly for UPA, the younger age group - 18 to 30 years - was more supportive of the alliance , with 37% saying they would vote for it, than the relatively older 31- to 45-year age group.

With barely a year to go for the next Lok Sabha polls, if they are on schedule, and with crucial assembly elections coming up later this year, the ruling coalition will be hoping these ratings hold for another year.

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