What will be the impact of the Internet in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014? Google India has released a study titled 'Urban Indian Voters' based on an offline survey by TNS, covering a pretty large sample size of 108 constituencies, representing 20 percent of the total 543 constituencies in the country
Only 150 million out of a population of 1.2 billion Indians were estimated to be online at the beginning of the year. Internet penetration remains low across India due to poverty and a poor IT infrastructure that leaves most of the country excluded.
This figure of 150 million is expected to reach about 200 million by the end of 2013
Google India vice president and managing director Rajan Anandan told reporters that the overwhelming majority of internet users are located in cities:
"A significant population of registered urban Indian voters are now online and spend an equal amount of time on online and offline media. The findings reveal that the Internet will play an important role in influencing the large undecided urban Indian population in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There is an opportunity for political parties and candidates to engage the urban Indian youth on the Internet. From Google's perspective, we are already seeing a massive growth in elections related search queries."
- 108 constituencies
- Spread over 86 cities.
- Covering over 41,000 people
- With a focus on 7042 respondents who are registered voters in the same constituency and active users of Internet.
- 68 percent of the respondents were in the age group 18-35
- 63 percent of the respondents were male, and 37 percent female.
- 37 percent of urban Indian registered voters are online, and access the Internet regularly.
- 85 percent of respondents said that they have voted in previous elections.
- 64 percent of the respondents for the above question were in age group of 18-25 years.
- 94 percent of the respondents said they will vote in the forthcoming elections
- 42 percent undecided about whom to vote for in the upcoming elections.
- 65 percent said that they do not actively share their political views on social media platforms.
Voting Decision Based on:
- 35 percent said voting decision will be based on the party
- 36 percent said voting decision will be based on local candidate
- 11 percent said voting decision will be influenced by the prime ministerial candidate of the political party
- 45 percent in the west, showed the preference for local candidate
- 27 percent in the east showed preference for local candidates
What information are voters looking for on the Internet to help them make an informed decision?
- 45 percent said that they would like to see more information about political parties
- 57 percent said they would like to see information on local issues.
- 48 percent said they would like to see updates on development activities undertaken in the constituency
- 43 percent said they would like to see information on party manifesto.
Increasing Mobile Presence:
- 25 percent of election-related queries coming from mobile phones.
Wanted: Interactive Politicians
Online voters see leaders who are online as being progressive, dynamic and transparent.
- 50% respondents said they would like to actively engage with politicians online
- 52% respondents want politicians to allow them to comment online on their websites on different topics and expect politicians to respond
- 51% respondents want politicians to allow them to comment on their social network page on different topics and expect replies from them
- 47% want politicians to conduct online video conferencing.
In addition to this offline survehy, Google also shared their online search trends for the last six months (March 1 to August 31, 2013)
Ten most-searched politicians:
- Narendra Modi
- Rahul Gandhi
- Sonia Gandhi
- Dr. Manmohan Singh
- Arvind Kejriwal
- J. Jayalalitha
- Akhilesh Yadav
- Nitish Kumar
- Sushma Swaraj
- Digvijay Singh
Five most-searched political parties:
- Bharatiya Janata Party
- Indian National Congress
- Aam Aadmi Party
- Bahujan Samajwadi Party
- Shiv Sena
Five top election-related 'how to' queries:
- How to get election card
- How to find electoral roll number
- How to get election card online
- How to vote
- How to track/check status of election card