Written by Manjesh Rana, Neel Madhav & Aditya Pandey
With the support for AAP pouring in from many different sections, it would perhaps be worthwhile to see how the youngest voters in Delhi chose to vote. As evident from Lokniti’s election-eve survey in Delhi, among the youngest voters’ group, that of 18-25 years, while about three in every five or 59% of them voted for the AAP, only one in every three or 33% went with the BJP — 7% lesser than their vote share in Delhi.
Also, comparing it with the 2015 Vidhan Sabha elections, the AAP looks slightly more popular among this section of voters, gaining 2 percentage points.
Further, compared to the BJP, the AAP’s lead of 26 points appears to be maximum in the youngest age group, as data shows the gap between the two parties narrowing down as one moves to older age-groups. This is despite the BJP getting huge support from young voters in Lok Sabha 2019.
In fact, among the first time voters, i.e. the ones between 18-22 years, the BJP’s vote share further dips by 4 points, to 29%. Also, the AAP gained among the first-time women voters, with as high as 68% of women voting for the party.
Among the 26-35 age group, with AAP getting 54% and BJP securing 40%, the lead narrows to 14 points. Interestingly, this was the age group where the AAP topped with 60% in 2015 and the BJP trailed by 29 points — the maximum for any age-group. What perhaps saved AAP among this section of voters is the huge gap in the vote choice of men and women.
While the AAP leads by only two percentage points among men, it appears far more comfortable with a lead of 29 points among women between 26-35 years.
In the run-up to the elections, the city also witnessed multiple protests involving young college students. In our survey, on being asked if they consider police beating up protesting students to be right or wrong, almost two-thirds or 64% among the age-group 18-25 years found it wrong.
On being specifically asked about the police entering the Jamia campus and allegedly assaulting students, 71% found it wrong.
These figures were even higher among respondents who identified themselves as students.
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What’s more, the young brigade was also found to be in support of the demand of the Delhi government to take over the Delhi Police, with a majority or 52% wanting the Delhi Police to be under the Delhi Government — 5 percentage points higher than the overall response in the survey.
The survey also found high support for the students’ agitation in JNU over hike in hostel fee. In sum, like women, the young made the spectacular victory of AAP possible. They also appear to be critical of the way in which the Delhi Police has been handling various protests, including by students.
(The authors are associated with Lokniti-CSDS)
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