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The Quint lies, twists and tortures CVoter data to make it say that the Modi wave is over. Here is what the data actually says

What was The Quint's agenda in lying, obfuscating, twisting data, quoting data selectively, and peddling a false, malicious narrative in the midst of 2019 elections?

Three phases of the make-or-break 2019 Lok Sabha Elections have concluded and while on the ground, the Modi wave seems to be going strong, even in states like West Bengal, the Lutyens’ media is forever hopeful of the ‘wave’ dwindling and making way for their crowned Prince, Rahul Gandhi. Leftist portal The Quint, published an article headlined “Modi wave over? Why pollsters are scaling down projections for BJP” based on CVoter data and an opinion article by CSDS. The article was written by a bigot and fake news peddler Aditya Menon and hence, the data certainly deserves a closer look.

The article banner is as follows, showing upset/worried PM Modi and Amit Shah with a downward arrow:

The Quint banner for the article

The article says:

On 7 March, the Modi government’s approval rating was at 62.06 percent. Despite a minor decrease, it remained in the 50s till 22 March. But on 12 April, a day after the first phase of polling, the Modi government’s approval rating had fallen to 43.25 percent, a fall of almost 19 percent in about five weeks.

The article follows this up with a graph that tracks the popularity of PM Modi right from January 1st 2019 to April 12th. However, the focus of the article is how post-Balakot, his popularity has declined by 19%.

According to Quint, on 1st January 2019, Modi’s popularity was at 32.4%, peaking on March 7th to 62.06% and then falling to 43.25% on April 12th.

OpIndia got access to the CVoter data that The Quint has based its article on, and the results are rather damning.

The data presented by CVoter makes it amply clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is miles ahead of any other contender to the chair of the Prime Minister. We will try and dissect The Quint’s jugglery armed with this data.

The Lie

The CVoter approval rating data is divided into several questions. For example, what is the satisfaction with the current government led by BJP? What is the satisfaction with the current Prime Minister? Who would they choose as the PM, Narendra Modi or Rahul? Satisfaction with Sonia Gandhi, etc.

The approval ratings for every parameter is different. For example, the satisfaction with the current government led by BJP may throw up a completely different approval rating as compared to the satisfaction level with the Prime Minister or even, when one asks respondents to choose between Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Modi.

According to Quint, on 1st January 2019, Modi’s popularity was at 32.4%, peaking on March 7th to 62.06% and then falling to 43.25% on April 12th. Let us look at these three data points date wise.

1st January 2019

The Quint mentions in its graph that PM Modi’s popularity stood at 32.4% on 1st January 2019. This approval rating seems to have been taken from the question ‘Satisfaction with current Prime Minister Narendra Modi?’. In the CVoter data, the nett satisfaction rating stood at 32.37% which was rounded off to 32.4% by The Quint.

(49.59% of people were very much satisfied, 23.66% of people were somewhat satisfied, 32.88% of people were not satisfied and 1.87% people couldn’t say. 6154 people were surveyed for this question on this date).

March 7th 2019

Interestingly, on 7th March 2019, to the same question ‘Satisfaction with current Prime Minister Modi?’ the nett satisfaction according to CVoter data is 63.47%. This is also the peak satisfaction level with Prime Minister Modi. However, in The Quint article, mentions PM Modi’s peak popularity as 62.06% on 7th March. How did this discrepancy come in?

Actually, The Quint craftily took this number from another question that asked people about their satisfaction with the central government led by BJP. In that question, that peak popularity is on 7th March, standing at 62.06%.

The Quint, essentially, mixed up 2 data sets just to ensure Modi’s peak popularity appeared a few percentage points lower.

April 12th 2019

The Quint says PM Modi’s popularity stood at 43.25% on 12th April 2019. Interestingly, this number is also taken from the ‘satisfaction with the central government led by BJP’ question. The Modi popularity question throws up a satisfaction percentage of 48%.

In this too, The Quint interchanged the data sets to get a lower satisfaction percentage for Prime Minister Modi.

How satisfied are people with PM Modi?

As on 20th April 2019, the nett satisfaction with PM Narendra Modi is 47.39%. 50.78% of people are very much satisfied, 22.47% are somewhat satisfied, 28.86% of people are not satisfied.

While PM Modi’s popularity did peak right after the Balakot airstrikes, to assume that any adjustment in popularity according to pollsters since then is a ‘downgrade’ and to conclude that this is an indication of PM Modi’s dwindling popularity is asinine, to say the least.

if one looks from the perspective of 2019 Lok Sabha elections and takes the larger picture into account, Modi’s nett popularity has only grown this year from a 32.37% on 1st January to 47.39% on 20th April. That is an upswing of nett 15 points in less than 4 months.

Does that seem like PM Modi’s popularity is on the downfall? Not to someone who wants to see the data for what it is.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi

A crucial element that is missing from The Quint analysis is what people said when they were asked who they would choose as the Prime Miniter – Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi?

When one looks at the CVoter data, it is no surprise that The Quint chose to quietly leave this part out of their ‘analysis’, considering it would puncture a rather large hole in their propaganda.

To the CVoter question about who people who choose as the PM – Rahul Gandhi or Prime Minister Modi, an overwhelming majority opted for PM Modi.

According to CVoter polls, Prime Minister Modi, as on 20th April 2019 has a whopping 24.65% lead over Rahul Gandhi. The green graph you see there is the approval rating of PM Modi as compared to Rahul Gandhi. That blue graph that appears miles below the green graph, is that of Rahul Gandhi.

CVoter graph on approval ratings of PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister

As on 20th April 2019, 58.40% of people would prefer Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister as opposed to 33.75% for Rahul Gandhi. The lead comes up to a massive 24.85% in a country of over a billion people.

On 1st January 2019, 50.90% of people wanted preferred Modi over Rahul and 38.60% of people wanted Rahul over Modi. PM Modi, therefore, had a lead of 12.30%.

In less than 4 months, that lead has increased and become double of what it was in January, taking it up to 24.85%.

People who preferred Rahul Gandhi over PM Modi fell from 38.60% to 33.75% and people who preferred Modi over Rahul Gandhi rose from 50.90% to 58.40%.

This crucial data when commenting on the prospects of either of the leaders in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were summarily left out by The Quint. One can only guess why, but we will certainly not need a pollster to tell us that The Quint has an agenda against the Prime Minister and twisting, selectively quoting and mixing up data sets is a tool to satiate that agenda.

The Quint leaves out a subjective answer that widens the gap between Modi and other leaders

A subjective question was also asked by CVoter. The survey asked ‘who do you think is most suited for the post of the Prime Minister’. In that, respondents were free to venture answers and no options were given to them. In that, PM Modi has a decisive lead over every other leader in the country today who might harbour hopes to become the PM.

Modi vs all according to CVoter

According to the CVoter poll, a whopping 56.43% said that they would want to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. Followed by a 22% for Rahul Gandhi, 0.99% for Sonia Gandhi, 2.71% for Mayawati, 1.41% for Manmohan Singh, 1.67% for Mamata Banerjee, 1.40% for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 0.08% for Lalu Yadav, 1.67% for Arvind Kejriwal, 0.15% for Chandrababu Naidu and 4.83% for others.

The conclusion of this data: EVERY leader combined in the entire country, whether from a national party like Congress or a regional party like TMC, AAP etc don’t even come close to the nation’s choice of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister who in this segment, gets an approval rating of 56.43%.

In this segment, from 46.73% on 1st January 2019, PM Modi’s rating has come up to 56.43% on 20th April 2019. Rahul Gandhi rating has gone down from 26.04% in January to 22% on 20th April.

This data too was maliciously left out by The Quint that has declared that the Modi wave is over and, in fact, that PM Modi might end up getting even lesser seats than what pollsters predict currently.

Some interesting state-level facts that The Quint didn’t bother including either

There have been several articles written about how Rahul Gandhi is the most preferred candidate for the Prime Ministerial post in Kerala with a whopping 54% wanting to see him as the Prime Minister (as per the subjective question spoken off in the previous segment).

However, The Quint and most other portals miss a crucial observation. PM Modi is the most preferred in states where the regional leaders are pegging themselves as the PM contenders.

In West Bengal, where BJP has traditionally had no base whatsoever and many pollsters believe is poised to bag 15 to 18 seats this time around, 51.21% of people prefer PM Modi as the Prime Minister as opposed to 14.18% for Mamata Banerjee and 27.24% for Rahul Gandhi.

In Uttar Pradesh, PM Modi stands at 54.85% whereas Mayawati stands at 13.55% and Rahul Gandhi stands at 17.79%. Akhilesh Yadav is not even an option in the minds of the voters.

In Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi has an approval rating of 48.02% and Rahul Gandhi has that of 32.20%. The regional leaders are not even an option for the people of JK.

In Bihar, where a mahagathbandhan is underway, PM Modi’s approval rating is 67.10%. Rahul Gandhi’s is 19.42% and the regional leaders don’t even come close. Lalu Prasad Yadav bags a 0.72% with his offsprings not even featuring as an option.

Conclusion

When discussing one leader’s popularity and what impact it might have on the elections which are already in progress, there are two important factors to consider:

  1. Politics is extremely dynamic and rankings and percentage popularity could change on a regular basis. To get a true picture of how a leader is doing electorally, one must look at whether his popularity has been on a consistent rise, consistent fall, just consistent and how the ratings have increased or decreased over a substantial period of time.
  2. How one leader measures up against the other leaders who are in the race to become the Prime Minister. In this case, to reach a concrete analysis which is devoid of bias, one would have to look at the popularity ratings of the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi and the other regional leaders who are hoping to stake a claim as the PM or at least, play a significant part in national politics. Mamata Banerjee, for example.

Interestingly, The Quint article fails on both counts, whether inadvertently or deliberately is a matter of opinion.

The Quint article focuses only on the events after Balakot airstrikes without taking into account the larger picture over several months and intriguingly, doesn’t really compare PM Modi’s popularity with the other leaders who are hoping to take his place, thereby, making the analysis a shoddy piece of work. In fact, even in taking a skewed narrative of the data, they lie just to ensure Modi’s popularity can be shown as a few percentage points lesser.

In every single question that was posed to the people, Prime Minister Modi has emerged as the undisputed leader in the minds of the voters. The adjustment post-Balakot is by no means an indication of the ‘Modi wave’ being over and is a conclusion that can be drawn only if one is torturing the data to say what they really want it to say. The only question now is – what was The Quint’s agenda in lying, obfuscating, twisting data, quoting data selectively, and peddling a false, malicious narrative in the midst of 2019 elections.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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