Do you want to get involved in politics but do not want to become a full-time politician? Do you wish to take up a role that gives you the power to analyze and if needed criticize a political party or action? Are you someone who knows what good and healthy politics is and want to bring change in how parties run for campaigns or even introduce policies? If you can research on politics, evaluate & collect data with resources such as public opinion surveys and election results. Remember that you would be using statistical analysis to interpret research findings. This could mean that you spend days and weeks on the same or different topics, finding reliable sources and informative details. As a Political Analyst, you could work with politicians, build and organize campaigns; you could work with political think tanks and research Institutes; could find a number of opportunities in media houses and news channels as well. Thinking about how to enter the political space? If all this is exciting to you, then read on to find out how to become a Political Analyst.
Political Analysts are involved in the research and study of various aspects involved in politics – such as how political systems are developed and how they work, the impacts of government policies, which factors influence political trends, how political parties conduct and mandate poll campaigns, what strategies they use to win elections, etc. They interpret and analyze policies, public issues, legislation, or the operations of governments, businesses, and organizations. Collect data from sources such as public opinion surveys and election results
Why Become a Political Analyst?
Political Analysts research and study the various aspects involved in politics – such as how political systems are developed and how they work, the impacts of government policies, which factors influence political trends, how political parties conduct and mandate poll campaigns, what strategies they use to win elections, etc.
Political Analysts research and analyze government formation and actions, political ideologies, public policies, political trends, political behaviors, as well as global relations. They study, analyze, and interpret data such as various public documents on government policies and their outcomes, political literature, various documents of political parties and their actions, news reports, election results, public opinion surveys, and so on. Political Analysts report their findings and interpretation of the data to the general public, to political parties, governments, university scholars and students, and to all other concerned groups of people.
So, the important question one should ask is- where do Political Analysts work? Where does the research conducted by Political Analysts is needed?
Not only does the research conducted by Political Analysts help government organizations to advocate for specific policies, their research also impacts the decision-making process for various policies and causes such as climate change, citizenship, healthcare, immigration and so on. With advanced apparatuses used in conducting in-depth market research in specific areas, Political Analysts can even modify or propose new policies to enhance the overall working of the system.
Political Analysts not only work with and for government organizations, but they also work with:
- Think tanks & policy research institutes: The researchers work on issues such as public health, education, urban development, democracy, security, and the environment. Some examples of core research-related areas are post-financial crisis in political economy; political theories in the contemporary political scenario; international relations amidst trade wars, etc.
- Political parties: Political Analysts work with political parties; they work for the political parties in creating election campaigns, conducting research for evaluating the voter base, and identifying the needs and demands of society. They work along with political strategists, political scientists, political campaign managers and other professionals in understanding the political scenario. They research and study the effect of Political strategies, create political campaigns and make sure the party wins. Remember the political campaigning behind BJP’s 2015 majority win and AAP’s win in the 2020 elections? Well IPAC- a political consultancy was behind both the major wins. Therefore, political analysts also work in political consultancies and campaign management firms.
- Governments: Some Political Analysts work with governments of various countries and states. They advise the governments on various public policies, political strategies, election strategies, outcomes of public policy implementation, and on various other issues related to political and public policies.
- Media houses/ news channels: Political Analysts also work with various media houses and news channels as Analysts, they conduct research and study political strategies; provide political opinions on various public policies and political decisions, etc. They work in media houses/news channels like Times Now or NDTV, as Analysts.
- Universities: Some Political Analysts work at University departments or schools or centers which carry on political research and offer courses in Politics and related areas.
Popular Specialization in Political Analyst Profession
Political Analysts specializing in political economy research and study the relations of production and trade with law, customs and the government. Their research also focuses on the distribution of national income and wealth. Political analysts also study how political institutions, the political environment and the economic system influence each other.
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What Does a Political Analyst do?
As a Political Analyst, you would be engaged in one or more of the following key roles and responsibilities:
- You will consult with and advise government officials, civic bodies, research agencies, the media, political parties, and others concerned with political issues.
- You will evaluate programs and policies, and make related recommendations to institutions and organizations.
- You will interpret and analyze policies, public issues, legislation, or the operations of governments, businesses, and organizations. Collect data from sources such as public opinion surveys and election results.
- You will collect, analyze, and interpret data such as election results and public opinion surveys, reporting on findings, recommendations, and conclusions.
- You will develop and test theories, using information from interviews, newspapers, periodicals, case law, historical papers, polls, or statistical sources.
- You will evaluate the effects of policies and laws on government, businesses and people.
- You will also be involved in disseminating (spreading information) research results through academic publications, written reports, or public presentations.
- You will monitor current events, policy decisions and legislation changes.
- You will also be involved in raising public awareness of important political and social issues.
How to Become a Political Analyst – Eligibility Criteria
You can study Class 11-12 with any subject as per the scheme of studies. Then you can go for a Bachelor’s degree in Politics/ Political Science/ or in a related field. You can study in any of the following fields to become a Political Analyst either by the virtue of your educational qualifications and work experience or on the basis of your work experience alone. Remember that all these fields may not have Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level studies.
- Comparative Politics
- Conflict and Resolution
- Defence & Security Studies (Political Science)
- Global Politics
- Governance and Regulatory Studies
- International Policies
- International Relations
- Legislative Studies
- Peace Studies
- Political Geography
- Political Marketing
- Political Science
- Public Affairs and Public Policy
- Public Communication
- Regional Studies
- Security, Peace & Conflicts
As a Political Analyst, you may find work in any of the following organizations to begin with as an Intern/ Trainee/ Associate / Doctoral Fellow/ Post-Doctoral Fellow/ or similar positions:
- Political management & consultancy and campaign management companies and private organizations such as: IPAC (Indian Political Action Committee), Political Edge, NPAC (National Political Action Committee), Rajneethi, JanSoch, LeadTech, C fore, PoltuBaaz, EthiCore, etc.
- Indian think tanks, policy research institutes, polling and public relations firms such as: Research Foundation for Governance in India (RFGI), The Takshashila Institution, The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), Centre for Asian Strategic Studies-India (CASS-India), Centre for Civil Society (CCS), Pahle India Foundation (PIF), etc.
- National and international media & news channels such as: Republic TV, NDTV India, ABP News Network, Zee News, India TV, CNN-News 18, NDTV 24×7, BBC World News, Fox News, Cable News Network (CNN), MSNBC, Al Jazeera, etc.
- International think tanks, policy research institutes, polling and public relations firms and universities such as: SciencsPo, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Delhi University, Mumbai University, Center for Strategic and International Studies, McKinsey Global Institute, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, American Enterprise Institute, Institute of economic affairs, etc.
- Governments: Some countries’ federal and state governments recruit Political Analysts as specialist consultants. These are generally fixed-term appointments (say for 1/2/3 years) but with experience, you can expect to get your terms getting extended for a long period of time. With experience working with a government, you can switch to other types of organizations described above.
- Political parties: Political parties in India and in several other countries recruit Political Analysts on fixed-term contracts (like many governments do).
Salary of a Political Analyst
At the Entry level or as an Intern/Trainee, you may expect a slightly lower stipend or salary, of around Rs. 8,000- 15,000 per month. If you begin as a Doctoral Fellow, you may earn about Rs. 35,000-38,000 per month during your Ph.D. As a Post-Doctoral Fellow, you may earn about Rs. 45,000-60,000 per month.
At the junior level, you may earn around, Rs. 25,000 – 70,000 per month.
At the middle level, you may earn around, Rs. 45,000 – 2,10,000 per month or even more.
At the senior level, you may earn around, Rs. 75,000 – 2,50,000 per month or even more.
In the USA,
At the entry-level, you may earn around $1000 – $1,250 per month.
As a Political Analyst, at the junior level, you may earn around $1,500 – $5,500 per month.
As a Political Analyst, at the Middle level, you may earn around $2, 500 – $8, 310 per month.
As a Political Analyst, at the senior level, you may earn around $3, 700 – $13, 500 per month.
Please understand that, after completing a master’s or higher level degree in Political Science or a similar discipline and acquiring 8-10 years of practical experience working in a similar field (media houses/news channels/political consultancy firms/ campaign management organizations, etc.) you can start working independently or set up your own Political Consultancy firm. You may earn Rs. 15 Lakh to Rs. 8 crore per campaign or take up pet projects to earn a living.
Career Progression in Political Analyst Profession
In academics and some policy research institutes or centers, you may progress as follows:
After your Master’s, you join as a Doctoral Fellow – then after the completion of Ph.D., as a Post-Doctoral Fellow / Assistant Professor. From an Assistant Professor, you can become an Associate Professor and then a Professor. Subsequently, you can become a Dean/ Director of an institute/ university department/ policy research institution.
In some policy research institutions, you progress as:
Post-Doctoral Fellow – Senior Analyst – Lead Analyst – Associate Director – Director – President
Depending upon your qualifications, you may also join directly as a Lead Analyst.
In other organizations:
In order to become a Political Analyst, you may have to work in various capacities. Initially, you may start of as an Intern or Trainee in any media house or news channel and work in the research and writing space. You will then progress as Research Analyst or Research Lead in the same domain. After working for 3-4 years in the research field, you would then work as Political Analyst and after a few years of working in Political consultancy firms and campaign management organizations you would further lead up to the position of Senior Political Analyst and then Political Research Scientist or you could work as political campaign manager.
Remember that position as Political Analyst may not exactly be of the same title in various political consultancy/campaign management/ think tanks, etc. Your job role would be mostly in the research field therefore in most companies/ private or government organizations you may take up the role of Associate Research Analyst/ Assistant Research Analyst/ Senior Research Analyst.
In US, in most think tanks and political consultancies, at an associate level, you may start working as a Political Adviser and may grow up to the position of Senior Political Officer or Research Director.
What does Industry Trends Say – Future Prospects
The scope of Political Science is yet untapped in the Indian political market. But with the increase in transparency, thanks to the Internet and social media, political management is increasingly becoming complex. Winning an election is no longer just a door-to-door campaign but a complex play of various factors and public communication through various media. Winning an election requires positive impacts of governance and public policy on the masses, political ideologies beneficial to people, systematic analysis of the electorate and election trends, formulation of election strategies, and so on. Under this complex scenario, the demand for Political Analysts are rising.
Political organizations, campaign management firms and other political consultancies are gaining tremendous recognition in the Indian markets. India’s political scenario has undergone a paradigm shift due to the digital transformation and growth of social media. This change in Political communication has interlinked or bridged the gap between the masses and the individual.
While this change can also be witnessed in India and its neighboring nation-states there are political consultancies, campaign management firms and research think tanks that are entering the realm of Indian Politics. It is expected that these organizations are set to increase employment opportunities in the field of political science.
According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, employment opportunities for political scientists are estimated to grow by up to 5% by the year 2028. There is an increase in demand for political science professionals in government as well as private organizations to analyze, research and assess the impact of public policies and political decisions, etc. Therefore a career as a Political Analyst or Political Scientist is going to be in high demand in the upcoming years as well.
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