August 03, 2020
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Why Do We Hate Our Politicians?

A nationwide opinion poll confirms our worst fears.

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Why Do We Hate Our Politicians?
Why Do We Hate Our Politicians?

Why Do We Hate Our Politicians?

Who is the best prime ministerial candidate among non-politicians?
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 38
K.P.S. Gill 10
Medha Patkar 5
Ratan Tata    5
J.M. Lyngdoh    5
Sunil Gavaskar    4
N.R. Narayanamurthy    4
Arundhati Roy    3
M.S. Swaminathan 3
Kanchi Shankaracharya 1
None of these 16
Don’t know/Can’t say  7
Do politicians live up to your expectations ?
Do not live up to  expectations 75

Do live up to expectations

Don’t know/Can’t say 3

A very large majority (75%) feels that politicians do not live up to their expectations. This was more so in the case of the Delhi (85%) and Mumbai (83%) samples.

Is your MP/MLA responsive to your needs?

Our MP/MLA is not much concerned about our needs and hasn't done all he promised

Our MP/MLA is very concerned about our needs  23
Our MP/MLA is not at all concerned about our needs  20

A majority (57%) thinks that the MP/MLA in their constituency is not responsive to the needs and concerns of the people. The figure is the highest for Delhi (75%).

Do you vote?
Yes 95
No 5

The vast majority (95%) claims that they vote during elections. In fact, the claim is Total (100%) in Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad and is the least in Ahmedabad (87%).

Do you vote for a party or for a candidate?
Vote for the party and not for the candidate 30
Consider both, the candidate and the party 28
Vote for the candidate and not the party 41
Don’t know/Can’t say


It appears that a candidate is considered more important than the party. The exceptions are Delhi and Calcutta where both are considered equally important.

Do you think your vote counts?
Yes 88
No 10
Don't know 2

Again, a very large proportion (88%) feels their vote counts. There is greater scepticism in Chennai where only 70% feel their vote carries any weight.

What is your opinion about politicians as people?

A majority of politicians are good citizens who want to serve the nation/ people 13
There are an equal number of good and bad politicians 33
A majority of politicians are not good citizens. They join politics for selfish ends. 53
Don’t know/Can’t say 1

A majority overall (53%) feels that politicians are not good citizens and form policies for personal gains. This feeling is greatest in Delhi (67%) compared to other cities.

Are the politicians of today worse than those of yesteryears?

Quality today is better than in the past 12
Quality today is worse than in the past 64
Quality these days is as good as it was in the past 21
Don’t know/Can’t say 3

A majority (64%) thinks that the quality of politicians today is worse than in the past. This feeling is the strongest in Delhi (83%).

What is your perception about the various political parties in India?

All political parties are the same 42
BJP is better than other parties 26
Congress is better than other parties 19
Left parties are better than other parties 6
Regional parties are better than other parties 7

The majority (42%) thinks that all political parties are the same with a greater proportion in Mumbai (57%) and Calcutta (55%) expressing this view. However, a sizeable proportion (26%) feels the BJP is better than the other parties. This sentiment is the strongest (42%) in Ahmedabad.

What is your view about the politician of today?





A: Agree; NAND: Neither Agree Nor Disagree; D :Disagree; DKCS: Don't Know, Can't Say
Most politicians are corrupt 76 17 6 1
Politicians are above the law 36 17 44 3
Politicians are a drain on the exchequer 71 17 10 1
Politicians with criminal charges should be banned from public life 86 8 5 1

Politicians contribute to the country’s economic growth

35 25 38 2

Politicians, as public servants, are excessively concerned about their personal security

79 13 8 -

We are spending too much on protecting our politicians

82 12 4 2

Women politicians are better than men

55 28 15 2
There should be reservation for women in Parliament/ state assemblies 79 13 7 1

Politicians should be accountable to the public

87 10 2 1

There should be minimum educational qualification for politicians

90 4 5 1

Media devotes too much air-time and space to politics

76 18 6 -

Politicians are publicity-hungry

85 9 5 -

There should be a retirement age for politicians

83 11 6 -

The bureaucracy makes fools of politicians

51 27 18 4

(all figures in percentage)

Who Is Most Useful To Society?

1.  Teachers           


2.  Doctors         


3.  Defence personnel


4.  Farmers         


5.  Judges        

6.  Journalists          11.4
7.  Lawyers          11.4
8.  Policemen          10.4
9.  Computer engineers 9.4
10. Social workers 9.0
11. Businessmen          8.6
12. Sportsmen          8.0
13. Bureaucrats          7.8
14. Politicians          7.7
15. Black marketeers 3.6
16. Pimps          3.2

Politicians rank way down in the list at No. 14, just above black marketeers and pimps. Mean score (out of max. of 18)

AC Nielsen-Outlook Poll: Methodology

This opinion poll on urban middle-class perceptions of politicians was conducted by the internationally reputed research agency, AC Nielsen, in seven metros—New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. The poll was conducted through face-to-face interviews. The respondents were all interviewed at their homes. The field work was carried out between October 9 and October 11. In all, 500 men and 424 women were interviewed in the SEC A and B categories.

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