Here's a real stunner. The BJP, which has been the lead party in the governing coalition of India, has been upset by the Congress Party. This happened despite the fact that in the first quarter of this year, India's economy grew at a real 10% annualized rate, and under BJP care for some time, the economy has grown consistently in the real 7-8% range.
India has a slightly lower Gini score than the United States -- i.e., India's income is distributed more equally than is America's. Given this, I expected that India would reward her politicians in about the same manner as Americans would. For instance, in 1984, economic growth was a real 7.2% and Reagan won reelection by a landslide with 59% of the vote. In 1955, economic growth was a real 7.1% and in 1956 Eisenhower won reelection by a landslide with 58% of the vote. In 1935 and 1936, economic growth a real 8.9% and 13.0%, repsectively, and in 1936, Roosevelt won reelection by a landslide with 61% of the vote.
You might bring up the possibility that since India has such a large amount of poverty -- 25% of the population is below the poverty line -- voters felt that the money wasn't being spread evenly enough. This might be true, but the U.S. response to this was entirely different. Roosevelt was in the same or worse situation with regard to poverty and he still won by a landslide. Maybe he just communicated better with the American people than the BJP did with the Indian people?
I guess this stark difference demonstrates that each country's voters weight their public values differently. I hope that the Congress party doesn't force India to lurch back to its socialist roots, killing the economic progress that has been made by India in the last decade. India's politicians must listen to the wishes of the people, and the people seem to have expressed the opinion that economic growth is not of primary importance.