How Congress lost 44 seats despite having better vote share than 2013
From 122 in 2013 to 78 in 2018. This was the Congress decline in Karnataka. During the campaign and going by the various exit polls, it suggested that there was no anti-incumbency factor at play.
When the results were declared, it became clear that the anti-incumbency factor did not play out. In 2013, the party polled 36.6 per cent while in 2018, it was 38. Although the Congress had a slightly better vote share than the BJP, it still fell short. This was largely because the BJP was a divided house in 2013 with B S Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu breaking away. In 2013 the three units of the BJP had 32 per cent of the vote share.
The unity of the BJP helped it swing the vote share in its favour by around 4 per cent.
Further the BJP's votes were not scattered which helped it covert votes effectively.
Data would show that the Congress polled more than the BJP in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region and also the Old Mysore belt which together account for 99 seats. In the rest of the regions, the BJP had a higher number of votes.When compared to 2013, the Congress polled better in the Old Mysore, Hyderabad-Karnataka and Bombay-Karnataka regions.
However in the rest of the state, it lost considerably.
In the seats reserved for the SC candidates, the Congress polled better than the BJP but won lesser seats. The BJP won 16 and the Congress 12. In the ST reserved seats, the BJP had a higher vote share, but won just 6 when compared to the 8 of the Congress.
In the crucial Lingayat dominated belts which comprise 120 seats, the Congress increased its vote share to 38.1 per cent when compared to 35.9 in 2013. However this did not translate into victory suggesting that the Lingayat issue did not work at all for the Congress.