UP set for hung Assembly; BJP single largest party if SP splits: Lokniti-ABP News survey

By: | Updated: 03 Jan 2017 09:09 PM
NEW DELHI: With just a few weeks left for assembly elections to begin in Uttar Pradesh, the latest turf war in the ruling Samajwadi Party may well have harmed its seemingly bright electoral prospects. The Lokniti-ABP News election tracker survey in Uttar Pradesh had found the Samajwadi Party to be leading its main opponents the BJP and BSP, mainly on account of the popularity of Akhilesh Yadav.

Despite major events such as demonetization, surgical strikes and the September-November feud in the Yadav family having taken place since the first round of the tracker survey conducted in August 2016, the December survey found little to have changed in terms of people’s voting preferences, with the SP retaining its front runner status. The ruling party led by Akhilesh Yadav was expected to secure 30 percent of vote, the same as August.

The BJP and its allies were found to be polling 27 percent votes, also the same as August. The other major player in UP politics, the BSP, was likely to witness a four percentage point drop in its vote share since the August survey. Mayawati’s party was estimated to get 22 percent votes. The Congress continued to be a distant fourth in the race.

Party Name Vote Share Seat Share
SP 30% 141-151
BSP 22% 93-103
BJP+ 27% 129-139
INC 8% 13-19
Others 13% 6--12


In case of a split in Samajwadi Party,  BJP  is likely to get benefitted with 27 per cent vote share and emerge as the single largest party with 158-168 seats. Though Akhilesh Yadav likely to shrink to the third place with seats less than 100 seats, with BSP as second with around 110-120 seats with a vote share remaining constant at 22 per cent.

Party Name Vote Share Seat Share
SP-Akhilesh 21% 82-92
SP-Mulayam 9% 9--15
BSP 22% 110-120
BJP+ 27% 158-168
INC 8% 14-20
Others 13% 6--12


And after the split in Samajwadi Party and if Akhilesh Yadav joins hands with Congress, the alliance is likely to get about 27 per cent vote- close to BJP which will though see a dip in seats but the vote-share will continue to be 27 per cent. The split doesn’t seem to have much impact on BSP.

Party Name Vote Share Seat Share
BSP 22% 105-115
BJP+ 27% 138-148
SP-Akhilesh+INC 27% 133-143
SP-Mulayam 10% 2--8
Others 14% 4--10


The SP appeared to have taken the lead over the BJP in Eastern UP or Poorvanchal, where it was expected to corner 35 percent of the total vote, up from 29 percent in August. The BJP was doing much better in Western UP compared to the August survey. Modi’s party was netting 37 percent of the votes in that region, which is a gain of seven points. The BSP, however, was doing much better in the Awadh region and emerged as the frontrunner there with 33 percent of the vote. This was a gain of five percentage points since August.

Region-wise Vote in December - SP was ahead in East UP, BJP in West; BSP in Awadh

  Frontrunner Second Third Fourth
Eastern UP SP 35 (+6) BJP+ 30 (-5) BSP 18 (-7) Cong 8 (+4) Oth 9 (+2)
Western UP BJP+ 37 (+7) SP 16 (-1) BSP 12 (-10) Cong 4 (-2) Oth 31 (+6)
Rohilkhand SP 47 (-1) BSP 33 (+2) BJP+ 16 (+2) Cong 1 (0) Oth 3 (-3)
Awadh BSP 33 (+5) BJP+ 26 (+6) SP 25 (-10) Cong 12 (+6) Oth 4 (-7)
Doab and Bundelkhand SP 25 (0) BJP+ 23 (-2) BSP 21 (-5) Cong 10 (+4) Oth 21 (+3)


The survey found the caste-based voting preferences to be more or less intact in December, with the BJP getting  a lion’s share (55 percent) of the upper caste vote and the SP securing three-fourths (75 percent) of the Yadav vote. Its support among the Muslims however had fallen by eight percentage points since August. Interestingly, the BJP seemed to be doing a lot better among Muslims than it was in August. The BSP’s dominance among the Jatavs (74 percent) and Dalits (56 percent) was more or less intact. A major division of votes seemed to be happening among non-Yadav OBCs, one-third of whom were found by the survey to be voting for the BJP, about a quarter for the SP, a fifth for the BSP and a tenth for the Congress. Compared to the August survey, the SP and the Congress had made significant inroads among these middle and lower OBCs in the December survey.

Caste bases of parties were more or less intact without any drastic changes since Aug survey

Vote %

for SP
Vote %

for BSP
Vote %

for BJP+
Vote %

for Cong.
Upper castes 12 (-3) (-1) 55 (0) 10 (+5)
Yadavs 75 (+7) (-1) 14 (-2) (+1)
Other OBCs 23 (+4) 20 (-3) 34 (-4) 10 (+5)
Jatavs (-1) 74 (-1) (0) (+2)
Other Dalits 16 (+2) 56 0) 13 (-3) 11 (+8)
Muslims 54 (-8) 14 (-4) (+5) (-1)


Interestingly, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s popularity appeared to have grown between August and December. In response to an open-ended question, some 28 percent respondents in December said they would like to see Akhilesh Yadav back as the chief minister, compared to 24 percent in August. BSP supremo Mayawati, who was running neck and neck with Akhilesh Yadav in the August survey, saw her ratings fall by three percentage points in the December survey.

Spontaneous CM preference among voters in December

% Change since

August 2016

(% points)
Akhilesh Yadav 28 +4
Mayawati 21 -3
Narendra Modi 5 +3
Yogi Adityanath 4 -1
Rajnath Singh 4 -3
Mulayam Singh Yadav 3 -1
Rahul  Gandhi 3 +2
Arvind Kejriwal 3 +3
Amit Shah 3 +2
Varun Gandhi 1 -2
Priyanka Gandhi 1 0
Ram Gopal Yadav 1 -1
Other names 6 +2
No response 17 -5


Moreover, for the first time in many years, Akhilesh’s government was rated better than Mayawati’s, with 41 percent respondents opining that the present SP government is better than the previous BSP regime, compared to 32 percent respondents who thought otherwise. In past surveys most voters had viewed Mayawati’s government as being better than Akhilesh’s.

For the first time in many years, Akhilesh’s government was rated batter than Mayawati’s

Present SP govt is better than previous BSP govt. Previous BSP govt. was better than present

SP govt.
Both have been equally good Both have been equally bad No opinion
Dec 2016 41 32 3 16 8
Aug 2016 31 34 7 15 13
Jul 2013 26 29 10 17 18


The survey found Narendra Modi to be quite popular in Uttar Pradesh. However his popularity seemed to be getting somewhat neutralized by Akhilesh Yadav’s popularity. The survey findings revealed that people’s assessment of the performance of Akhilesh in the state was better than their rating of Modi’s performance at the Centre.

People’s satisfaction with Akhilesh was higher than their satisfaction with Modi in Dec

Performance of… Fully Satisfied Somewhat satisfied Somewhat dissatisfied Fully Dissatisfied
Akhilesh Yadav as CM 34 (+4) 36 (+5) (+2) 17 (-9)
SP govt. in Uttar Pradesh 33 (+7) 36 (-2) (+1) 18 (-8)
Narendra Modi as PM 32 (-1) 33 (-2) (+1) 22 (+7)
NDA govt. at Centre 27 (+3) 36 (-3) (+1) 21 (+5)


Akhilesh also seemed to have emerged as a much stronger leader vis-à-vis his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav since August. Whereas 40 percent of the voters in August had agreed with the proposition that Mulayam should replace Akhilesh as chief minister, the figure recorded in response to the same question in the December survey was 33 percent. In fact, a greater proportion of voters disagreed with the idea (37 percent) which had not been the case in August.

Akhilesh was seen a stronger leader vis-à-vis his father in Dec

‘Instead of Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh should be made the chief minister’ Aug

2016 (%)

2016 (%)
Agree 40 33
Disagree 28 37
No response 32 30


Popular opinion on the power tussle within the Yadav family also favored Akhilesh, with a plurality of all voters (25 percent) putting the blame on his uncle Shivpal Yadav. Yadav voters were found to be even more critical of Shivpal with 38 percent blaming him for the family feud.

Most voters blamed Shivpal Yadav for family feud more than Akhilesh Yadav; Muslim voters were least willing to give a response on this matter

Akhilesh was more responsible for family tussle Shivpal was more responsible for family tussle Neither was wrong

(silent option)
Both were wrong

(silent option)
Outsiders were to blame

(silent option)
No response
All voters 6 25 4 20          8 37

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