Karnataka elections: Average victory margin did not increase despite Congress’s big win
Congress won 31 ACs with a victory margin of less than 5% in 2023, marginally down from 32 ACs it won with a similar margin in 2018
Headline numbers for the Congress, both in terms of seat share and vote share, suggest that it has registered a big victory in the Karnataka elections. But headline numbers need not tell us the entire story about close contests at the assembly constituency (AC) level. Here is what an HT analysis of the results shows.
Median victory margin in the 2023 assembly elections is 9.1% of the total votes polled. This number was 9% in 2018 and 9.8% in 2013. This shows that on an overall basis, these elections were as closely contested as they have been in the recent past.
See Chart 1: Median victory margin in Karnataka
To be sure, the election results show that the share of ACs where the counting really went down to the wire (a victory margin up to just 2% of the total votes polled) have seen a small increase. On the other hand, the share of ACs which saw victory margins of more than 10% have also seen an increase.
What does a party-wise classification of victory margin tell us?
A comparison shows that the Congress’s share of seats won in the most closely contested seats has slightly come down between 2018 and 2023 elections whereas it increased in the highest victory margin group. The Congress won 31 ACs with a victory margin of less than 5% in 2023, marginally down from 32 ACs it won with a similar margin in 2018. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 25 ACs with a margin of less than 5% in 2023, up from 19 ACs it won in 2018. The Janata Dal (Secular), which won 28 ACs with a margin of more than 5% in 2018, has come down to 14 ACs in 2023. These numbers suggest that the Congress victories have come with bigger margins than that of the BJP and the JD(S), a fact also seen in median victory margins for the three parties. It is 7.8% for the BJP, 8% for the JD(S) and 10.9% for the Congress in these elections.
See Chart 2: Relative seat shares of parties by victory margins
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