A quantitative survey using a structured questionnaire was administered randomly to 5,639 men and women from SEC A and B households, in the age group 18- 60 via telephone and face- to- face interviews in 28 state capitals. Sixteen names of prospective candidates ( put together by the INDIA TODAY editorial team) were shared with the respondents and they were asked to rank the candidates from 1 to 16.
Each of the 16 candidates was given a rank somewhere between 1 and 16 by all respondents. For each of the 16 candidates, we totalled the number of votes he or she got in each of the 16 ranks. These were then weighted for each candidate, with rank 1 getting the highest weightage of 16, rank 2 getting 15, rank 3 getting 14 and so on to rank 16 getting the lowest weightage of 1. The number of votes in each rank was multiplied by its respective weight. All of them were then added for each of the 16 candidates and then divided by the total number of respondents, 5,639. Such a method reflects the entire preference list of respondents and not simply their first choice. The fieldwork was conducted between April 26 and May 6.