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Equitymaster Poll Results: Voter maange more! - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Mar 31, 2009

    Equitymaster Poll Results: Voter maange more!

    The eventual results of an election are never predictable and are seldom as per expectations. Exit polls too have in the past hardly ever been any more dependable than stock market forecasts. However, the significance of a general election in our country, to citizens and business men, can never be understated. It is with this spirit that we set out to gauge how the Equitymaster community feels about this important event, what it feels about the existing UPA government and its expectations from the new government that will be formed by the winning party.

    The results of the poll are extremely interesting to say the least. First off, respondents on an average don't seem to be very pleased about the performance of the UPA government. On being asked to rate the performance of the government on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, over half chose to give a rating of between 1 and 2. That does speak very strongly of how most feel about what our government has been doing since the past five years.

    What is interesting to note here is that the past five years also included an unprecedented bull run on the stock markets. It may perhaps be true that if the bull run had not ended in a crash and the mood were still as euphoric, the results of poll would likely be skewed towards the positive. But with tough times now surrounding us, the sentiment is evidently anything but positive.

    Source: Equitymaster Poll

    The second questioned aimed at tabulating specific areas where respondents thought the existing government has not done enough during its tenure. Here, the fear of terrorism still seemed to be looming large on people's minds. 51% of the respondents felt that the government's fight against terrorism left a lot to be desired. That was followed by infrastructure development and power generation which were chosen by almost 48% and 44% of the survey respondents respectively. Compared to the other areas, readers seemed to be a little less dissatisfied with the incumbent government's progress in the areas of poverty alleviation and maintaining fiscal balance, which were ticked by 39% and 33% of the respondents respectively. Please note that the percentages do not add up to 100 because respondents had the flexibility of ticking multiple options.

    Source: Equitymaster Poll

    Source: Equitymaster Poll
    So, how much do Equitymaster readers feel a new government will be able to improve the situation? This was a close call and there doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm about a new government making any substantial difference. On being asked if one believes that a change of government will bring about some of the desired changes, only about 41% answered in the positive while 38% said that it will not make any difference whatsoever.

    Our fourth questions asked respondents where they would expect the next MP from their constituency to focus on. The majority of votes in this case went to infrastructure, an area people are very evidently disgruntled with. Next came the issue of removing corruption. But the irony here is that the power of removing corruption lies as much in the hands of the people as it lies with the government.

    A certain section's cynicism was again made clear when 26% of the respondents said that they do not have any hope about the next MP focusing on any desired area. Education and healthcare came a distant third and fourth garnering 7% and 2% votes respectively.

    Source: Equitymaster Poll

    Our final question dealt with the subject of how investors look at the elections when it comes to investing in the stock markets. More specifically, it asked that if the party one thinks will come to power, does come to power, would one increase one's exposure to the markets, stay neutral, or reduce it. Here, 50% of reposdents replied in the affirmative, thus saying that they would increase their exposure to the markets if the party they expect to come to power does come to power.

    Source: Equitymaster Poll

    While 4% of respondents said they would reduced their exposure to the stock markets on such an event, 38% said they would be indifferent to the election results. So, what would be the best strategy? Well, this reminds us of a quote from investment guru Warren Buffett who said "Stop trying to predict the direction of the stock market, the economy, interest rates, or elections." Investment decisions should be independent of things like the outcome of an election. Things such as these things are far from predictable and cannot be a sound base for making an investment decision. Afterall, it is a business one is investing in. And it is a prerequisite of a sound and solid business model that it should be capable of tiding over any adverse circumstances in the external environment. Elections are merely one of them.



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