How many times did a Political Party secure more than 50% of the polled vote?

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The ongoing Assembly elections in five states might indicate people’s mood before the 2019 Lok Sabha election. No party in these five states looks like winning more than 50% of the popular vote. But how many times in the past has a party polled more than 50% of the vote?

When the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) secured 54.3% of the total vote in the Delhi Assembly election of 2015, it was the first time in 25 years that a party polled more than 50% of the vote in a state barring the North-Eastern states. But how many times has it happened since 1950 that a party secured more than 50% of the polled vote in a Assembly or Parliament elections?

Note:The analysis does not consider coalitions winning more than 50% vote, but only an individual political party securing more than 50% vote.

It has happened on 41 occasions in the past
No individual party has ever secured more than 50% vote in a Parliamentary Election, but in assembly elections, an individual party secured more than 50% of the vote on 41 occasions (including Delhi 2015). Below is the  complete list.

S NoYearElectionWinning Party% votes for the winning party
11951Sourashtra**Congress63.79
21951Coorg**Congress55.54
31951DelhiCongress52.09
41951Bhopal**Congress52.01
51957AssamCongress52.35
61957KarnatakaCongress52.08
71962Jammu & KashmirNational Conference66.96
81962MaharashtraCongress51.22
91962GujaratCongress50.84
101962KarnatakaCongress50.22
111964PondicherryCongress52.07
121967TripuraCongress57.95
131967Jammu & KashmirCongress53.02
141972MaharashtraCongress56.36
151972Jammu & KashmirCongress55.44
161972Himachal PradeshCongress53.24
171972AssamCongress53.2
181972Andhra PradeshCongress52.29
191972KarnatakaCongress52.17
201972RajasthanCongress51.13
211972GujaratCongress50.93
221977RajasthanJanata Party50.39
231980GujaratCongress51.04
241983Andhra PradeshTelugu Desam Party54.03
251983AssamCongress52.53
261985SikkimSikkim Sangram Parishad62.2
271985GujaratCongress55.55
281985Himachal PradeshCongress55.46
291985OdishaCongress51.08
301989SikkimSikkim Sangram Parishad70.41
311989NagalandCongress51.45
321990OdishaJanata Dal53.69
331995Arunachal PradeshCongress50.5
341998NagalandCongress50.73
351999SikkimSikkim Democratic Front52.32
361999Arunachal PradeshCongress51.78
372004SikkimSikkim Democratic Front71.09
382009SikkimSikkim Democratic Front65.91
392009Arunachal PradeshCongress50.38
402014SikkimSikkim Democratic Front55
412015DelhiAam Aadmi Party54.3

** These states do not exist anymore.

Where did this happen most?
A quick look at the states reveals that it happened in almost all regions of the country (North, East,West & South). It happened 6 times in Sikkim, 4 times in Gujarat, 3 times each in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka.

StateNo of Times
Sikkim6
Gujarat4
Arunachal Pradesh3
Assam3
Jammu & Kashmir3
Karnataka3
Andhra Pradesh2
Delhi2
Himachal Pradesh2
Maharashtra2
Nagaland2
Odisha2
Rajasthan2
Pondicherry1
Tripura1
Bhopal**1
Coorg**1
Sourashtra**1

** These states do not exist anymore.

Which party did this most times?
No prizes for guessing here. Congress party achieved this most number of times (30) followed by the two Sikkim based state parties. The AAP, Janata Dal, Janata Party, National Conference & Telugu Desam Party achieved this once each. The Congress achieved this feat when it was essentially a two party election and also most times before 1980.

When did this happen most times?
As one looks at the period when this feat was achieved most times, it was done quite a few times in every decade up to 1990. Since then, the number of times where a party polled more than 50% of the total vote has been continuously declining. After 1990, it happened only on 9 occasions. Of these 9 occasions, the North-Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland & Sikkim accounted for eight (8). So in the last 27 years, Delhi assembly elections of 2015 was the only occasion when a party polled more than 50% votes barring the North-Eastern states. There could be multiple reasons like the emergence of strong regional parties in the last three decades,multiple parties in the fray, alliances etc. for this fall in the last three decades. Elections are no more a two party affair.
Which party won the highest ever vote in  history?
The highest ever vote share recorded in the history is 71.09% by the Sikkim Democratic Front in 2004. The Sikkim based parties feature thrice in the top 5. The National Conference won almost 67% of the vote in 1962 in Jammu & Kashmir. AAP’s 54.3% in Delhi 2015 assembly elections is 14th in the list. 

S NoYearElectionWinning PartyPercentage of votes for the winning party
12004SikkimSikkim Democratic Front71.09
21989SikkimSikkim Sangram Parishad70.41
31962Jammu & KashmirNational Conference66.96
42009SikkimSikkim Democratic Front65.91
51951Sourashtra*Congress63.79

 

Did any party win a greater percentage of seats than AAP did in Delhi 2015?
The AAP secured 54.3% of the total vote in 2015, but won 67 out of the 70 seats which is a whopping 95.7% of the total seats. While this is on the higher side, it is not the highest. In Sikkim, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) & the Sikkim Sangram Parishad (SSP) made a clean sweep, winning all the 32 seats on offer. The SSP did this in 1989 and the SDF in 2009. In terms of the percentage of seats won (of those parties that won more than 50% vote share), AAP stands 4th and all the other positions in the top 5 occupied by the Sikkim parties.

S NoYearElectionWinning PartyPercentage of votesPercentage of seats
11989SikkimSikkim Sangram Parishad70.41100.00%
22009SikkimSikkim Democratic Front65.91100.00%
32004SikkimSikkim Democratic Front71.0996.88%
42015DelhiAam Aadmi Party54.395.71%
51985SikkimSikkim Sangram Parishad62.293.75%

 

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Shashi,
    Thanks for this very informative article..

    I’m looking for data on what has been the vote share of national level parties *when their head has been the PM*.. like when Indira Gandhi was PM, what ℅ of people voted for Cong (I), Deve Gowda, Narender Modi.. etc..

    Can you guide me please..

  2. You need to give the number of seats won by this percentage & whether these were fought between multiple parties or 2 opponents ,

    AAP got 54% which gave them 95% of the seats.
    In the coming elections we will be having moslty multi party election which means this single party percentage wont matter much.

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