Monday, January 17, 2011

India Today - Banana Polls

India Today (IT) has come out with another opinion poll: Mood of the Nation. This is the second of such polls, the first being around August 2010. Though the poll reflects a fall in the ratings of UPA-2 it also suggests if elections were held today the Congress (I) & Co. would be back in power. And that’s not all, IT once again reveals Rahul Gandhi is the top candidate for Prime Minister. Opinion polls are just that! Opinions! But when a magazine repeatedly makes such exercises a cover story it wants the poll to be counted as a referendum on various political issues and personalities.

I have yet to come across a single serious or critical analysis of Rahul Gandhi as PM by India Today. While frequently touting him as the next PM, based on Congress Gandhi lineage and therefore natural logic, the magazine finds no need at all to analyze the person or his suitability for the post. The greatest article they came up with on Rahul was ‘Who’d be a perfect Mrs. Rahul Gandhi’. That was on November 24, 2010 when the nation was in grips of all kinds of scams including the Radia tapes. The only other article of note was another one promoting Rahul as the PM by ex-editor Prabhu Chawla titled ‘Rahul Rising’. This was consequent to their August 2010 opinion poll. Keep touting the line and a gullible nation will fall for it!

In the December 2010 poll Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have all fallen in their ratings but Rahul still commands the lead for the PM post. Trailing him are Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, Mayawati by a long margin. And, of course, MMS and Sonia are trailing too, so is Advani. Now, why on earth would I ask someone if MMS, Sonia or Advani would make a good PM knowing well that these three people are not even in the race? Sonia declined the post in 2004 knowing well the legal complications, MMS might not even last this term and Advani would be a has-been by 2014. So thats the trick to opinion polls. Put up three real contenders, three meaningless choices and the answers become pretty obvious. It’s like asking what you will have for desert!  Icecream? Milk Shake? Roasted Papad? Or Karela juice? You see, the answer might be easy, that’s what such surveys and polls are meant to do. Then it’s easy for me to go to town saying Icecream or Milk Shake were the two most popular choices. That’s how banana polls work!

Take a look at their methodology. 12k voters surveyed in ‘stratified random sampling’! If you don’t know what that means, you can look it up anywhere and educate yourself. Now what exactly does that mean? Electoral politics in India encompass a wide variety of ‘stratified’ population. Hindus, Muslims, Dalits and other Castes etc. 

So what exactly does this stratified sampling mean? And this is from 19 states. Which are those states? Nobody knows. This is also supported by a rating of Chief Ministers. (See pic) 

How does one explain CMs like Sheila Dikshit, Karunanidhi, K. Rosiah and Ashok Chavan in the top 10? Two of them, Rosiah and Chavan, had exited by the time the polls were underway. 

And the corruption ridden head of Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyuriappa, is up there at no.13 too. In case you didn’t notice, the list makes up only 17 CMs. 

 Obviously, there was no time or relevance to rate the remaining 13 CMs. Thirteen out of 30 CMs is almost 50% and their states or performances aren’t relevant. Your guess is as good as mine! Most of those states would be those poor cousins of ours from the north-east, the one exception being Assam. There might be many reasons why governments neglect the north-east. Is there a reason for the media?

The CMs were probably measured on performance norms of some kind by respondents, real and perceived. So I find it amazing that the magazine finds people finding Rahul Gandhi fit for the PM job with no real or perceived performance measure and no governance experience either. Only one thing is clear, the media dearly wants to see this man as PM. So I’m running a poll too. Who could be a future PM? Vote on the poll on the right margin of this page.


  1. The question could have been who should be considering the growth and overall performance rather than could have been for anyhow our chances of preference could not near them for our preference is based on intellectuals but the freebie mania aam and aadhmi have outnumbered and they will ever remain to vote them back repeatedly regardless of their demerits.

  2. It should be taken as an story on entertainment.
    Does India Today really think that we believe them?
    I dont.
    I know some one who termed such polls as "PAIDITORIALS"

  3. People get deserve what they deserve. Tell me what did Hindus ever do anything to have this freedom? They did nothing. It was gifted to them by British.

    So, they do not know its value.

    As pathetic they are, they will choose more pathetic one Rahul Gandhi.

    Many people think UK as a nation is gone but I think it is India.

  4. It remind me that Q4 2009-10,IIP data was withdrawn by CSO, as later it was noticed that they have multiplied it with a wrong deflator.

    One thing is sure; manipulation of EVM is another issue which has never been examined by this radia-active media. Think of a larger conspiracy when "these" planted opinion polls are used to create environment for "those" cooked up EVM results

  5. I believe Prannoy James Roy through his various front & pop-and-mom offshore companies & NDTV itself have acquired a significant stake in the corporate entity which publishes 'India Today'? Could you provide further details about this?

  6. @ Anonymous on NDTV stake in India Today:

    While there have been many rumours I cannot confirm NDTV having a stake in IT. However, NDTV (with others) did buy Radio Today (a unit of India Today's group)and that was a complete sale and not a merger or investment. This was presumably done to acquire more FM licences that that govt. was about to issue.


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