The party, Aam Aadmi Party, was named today (yaay!). On this day, let us look at some recent election trends to get a quantitative feel for it. All my data were sourced from statistics available at Election Commission’s website. While I agree that it is important for APP to continue attracting those who have been voting for one party or the other so far, this article is mainly about the importance of encouraging those cynics (who didnt want to vote for any party/candidate so far because they hate the very word ‘politician’ and rightly so) to go out and vote for AAP.
It is these people that AAP should reach out to. AAP is a party of, by and for common citizens like you and me. So, we should take ownership of this movement/party and reach out to those potential voters!
All-India general election 2009:
Out of the 714 million who were eligible to vote (henceforth called ‘electors‘), only 420 million or 59% actually stepped out to vote (henceforth called ‘voters‘) and 41% of electors stayed back home. In the end, UPA (which includes Congress, TMC, DMK, NCP, NC, JMM, IUML etc) got 22% of total electors and NDA (which includes BJP, JDU, SS, RLD etc) got 15% of the total electors, Third Front (which included CPI, BJD, AIADMK, TDP etc) got 12% of electors and so on. This shows that, even if we manage to get just half of those 41% of cynics and lazy-bums to vote for AAP, we can swing the results greatly in our favor!
But there is a caveat: While the vote share difference between NDA and Third Front is just 3%, NDA managed to get 159 seats while Third Front could manage only 79 seats. This shows that, more than the national average vote share, it is the distribution of these over different constituencies that determine the number of seats won or lost. While it would be nice to have a constituency-wise analysis of party vote shares and non-voters, Election Commission website seems to be missing 2009’s data in Excel format (it has it in a pdf format though, but extracting data was a pain). So, I will instead analyse the 2004 general election data which is available in XLS format from their site. By the way, Wikipedia has some meta-data for 2009 elections but remember that the vote share stated there is a percentage over voters and not electors.
All-India general election 2004:
In 2004, 671 million were eligible to vote (electors) while only 58% of them actually voted (voters). Note these numbers are not very different to those from 2009 election.
The ‘constituencies’ tab gives some more info for each constituency
ST_CODE = state code ; PC_CODE = parliamentary constituency code ;
NON_VOTERS% = percentage of electors who did not vote ;
WINNER_VOT% = number of votes polled by the winning candidate as a percentage of electors (and not as a percentage of voters)
SWING% = (NON_VOTERS% – WINNER_VOT%) = shows the extent to which non-voters could influence the winning candidate, if they had chosen to vote. Any shade of green shows that SWING%>0, which means they could have elected any random candidate of their choice, if they so wished. Any shade of red shows SWING%<0, which means they might not have been able to elect their own candidate since their combined votes would have been less than the winner’s votes (but could have probably elected someone who had come second or third).
Number of constituencies with…
+80 < SWING% < +60 = 2
+40 < SWING% < +60 = 39 -60 < SWING% < -40 = 2
+20 < SWING% < +40 = 172 -40 < SWING% < -20 = 25
0 < SWING% < +20 = 187 -20 < SWING% < 0 = 119
So, the total number of constituencies where NON_VOTERS could have easily elected any new candidate of their own choice is 400 (=2+39+172+187). For comparison, note that 272 is the golden number required to form a majority central government!
Delhi state assembly election 2008:
+40 < SWING% < +30 = 3
+30 < SWING% < +20 = 15
+20 < SWING% < +10 = 34
+10 < SWING% < 0 = 15 -10 < SWING% < 0 = 2
In this case, the total number of constituencies where NON_VOTERS could have easily elected any new candidate of their own choice is 67. For comparison, note that 35 is the golden number required to form a majority state government in Delhi!
So, this pool of NON_VOTERS wield considerable power to change the system if they could somehow be convinced to exercise their vote. I am not sure if they themselves are aware of their own powers! In relation to this, you might also be interested in reading what one such non-voter said about Kejriwal in another one of my blog entries. So, let us all volunteer to reach out to this group and convince them to vote for AAP! If some say they genuinely cant make it to the nearest poll booth or consulate (if outside India), let us convince them to at least donate a good amount to our movement’s funds as reparation for that sin :-|
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