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Upcoming NYC Event- A Billion Votes

The Roosevelt House and Political Science Department at Hunter College will be hosting an exciting panel discussion event on Monday May 5, 2014 in New York. If you are in the city, be sure to check it out. You can read more details and register for the event here.

A Billion Votes:Making Sense of India’s 2014 General Election 

Monday, May 5, 2014
Reception 5:00 PM, 
Program 5:45 PM

Roosevelt House at Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street
between Park and Madison Avenues
New York, NY 10065

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera

India’s general elections are not only fascinating and consequential in their own right; they are also an important indicator of democracy’s global health. This campaign season party competition is intense and public advocacy full-throated; Indian democracy is in vigorous condition. Yet, trends such as economic inequality, rampant corruption, and social violence raise concerns about the direction in which politics may be heading. Join us for a roundtable on the significance of India’s elections – in which, to put things in perspective, newly eligible voters (those who turned 18 since India’s last election in 2009) exceed the entire voting electorate in the 2012 US presidential election.

Speakers:

Atul Kohli  David K. E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs, Princeton University

Sanjay Ruparelia  Assistant Professor of Politics and Fellow of the India China Institute, The New School

Milan Vaishnav  Associate, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Lok Surveys Research Affiliate at CASI

Rob Jenkins  Professor, Department of Political Science, Hunter College

REGISTER


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India’s new voters: We are connected

EconomistThe Economist has dedicated significant coverage in their April 5th issue (including their cover) to the Indian elections. Check out their briefing on the youth vote in India which features data from the Lok Surveys. They argue that India’s political climate is undergoing dramatic shifts due to changes in the electorate (more young people and female voters), rapid urbanization, and rising incomes. The article also discusses the cult of personality around Narendra Modi and the voter’s prioritization of economic growth. Vaishnav and Swanson’s graph, highlighted in the issue, shows how voters today, more than in the 1990’s, are making their decisions on whether to re-elect incumbents based on the economic growth over their term.

The trend is towards pragmatism, says Rajiv Lall of the Lok Foundation; politicians need to focus more on delivering development. Not everyone welcomes that. A political commentator in his club in Kolkata—West Bengal is India’s strongest bastion for lefties—harrumphs that “the post liberalisation generation, the 22-year-old, thinks there is only one God, that is GDP.” Read more…
 
 

 


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The rural/urban divide dies out

Neelanjan Sircar and Milan Vaishnav from the Lok survey team have released new analysis of the survey data in a recent guest post on the beyondbrics blog at FT.com.

Come election time, a standard trope goes that India is engaged in a relentless tug-of-war between its rural and urban populations. On the one hand sit urban metropolises like Mumbai and Bangalore, whose cosmopolitan citizens rail against corrupt politicians, fetishise growth and care little for parochial concerns, like caste. On the other hand sits India’s vast rural hinterlands, where caste dictates social relations and corruption takes a backseat to basic sustenance. Yet if this divide did once provide an accurate description of the country, there is good reason to doubt it as India heads to the polls in 2014. Continue reading…fig-1-vaishnav-gp


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TOI Series Article 4

Corruption and Access to BenefitsRead the final installment of the Sunday Times of India four part series “The Indian Lok FoundationVoter: Inside Out” this time written by Dr. Rajiv Lall, the founder of the Lok Foundation. In the article, Lall reconciles conflicting findings from the Lok Surveys about the importance of caste and economics to the election. He argues that the Lok Surveys reveal an Indian voter  that is “very pragmatic… looking to make an electoral choice in pursuit of his or her economic interests by relying on candidates and parties that he/she thinks will deliver results in a context marked by weakening institutions, poor governance, and increasing competition for upward social mobility.” 

Read the article here or on TimesofIndia.com.

Learn more about the project and our findings.

Read about our research methodology.


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Carnegie Event Videos

Panel 1

Thank you to those who attended our events this week. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, check out these videos from the Carnegie Endowment’s March 25th event “India Decides 2014: Assessing the Elections and Beyond.”

Panel 1: Introduction and Presentation of Survey Results

Featuring Jessica Tuchman Mathews, George Perkovich, Milan Vaishnav, Rajiv Lall, and Devesh Kapur

Panel 2: Implications of the 2014 Election

Featuring Devesh Kapur,  Ashley J. Tellis, Arvind Subramanian, and Ravi Agrawal

You can also view Milan’s presentation here.


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Milan Vaishnav on Charlie Rose

Watch Tuesday’s episode of Charlie Rose on PBS which includes a discussion about the upcoming Indian election with Milan Vaishnav from the Lok Survey project team, Sadanand Dhume, Professor Arvind Panagariya and Jonathan Shainin. The discussion begins at 28:17. You can also watch the video on CharlieRose.com.


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TOI Series Article 3

Discrimination chart

In this Sunday’s installment of our Times of India four-part series on the Indian voter, authors Devesh Kapur, Milan Vaishnav, and Neelanjan Sircar take a look at how voters actually feel about dynasty and criminality in Indian politics using data collected from the Lok 2014 pre-election survey. They also examine caste-based discrimination and caste affinity (see charts), finding that 57% of people would be troubled by a candidate from a different caste winning the election. You can view the article here or directly on TOI’s website.

Don’t forget to also read the first two installments of the series, “NDA makes gains with urban, OBC voters” and “Growth is No. 1 poll issue for voters, survey shows.” Detailed information on the Lok survey methodology and weighting is available in this note. If you are in the Philadelphia or DC area, be sure to attend our events this week. Most importantly, keep following to Transitions for more pre-election analysis and commentary.