Narendra Modi Remains Most Popular Indian Political Figure: Survey

Growing contentment with the Indian economy has led to a positive assessment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the public.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains “by far” the most popular figure in Indian politics, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The United States-based think-tank released the main findings on Nov. 15, after conducting a survey among 2,464 respondents in India.

The survey, conducted between February 21 and March 10 this year, shows that Modi, with 88 per cent popularity, is ahead of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by 30 points. He is ahead of Congress president Sonia Gandhi by 31 points and is 49 points ahead of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (39 per cent).

The poll was conducted well before the disastrous impact of the GST and slowdown of the Indian economy had become political liabilities for Modi.

The “positive assessment” of Modi by the public is because of the “growing contentment” with the Indian economy, the report said. Pew findings show that more than eight out of 10 people feel that economic conditions in India are “good,” a rise by 19 percentage points since immediately before the 2014 election.

In the past three years, the number of adults who say that the economy is “very good” has tripled and stands at 30 per cent.

Seven out of 10 Indians feel satisfied with the way things have been going in the country. Since 2014, the positive assessment of India’s direction has increased twofold.

In southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, at least nine out of 10 Indians are satisfied with Modi. Even the people of the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat have a favorable opinion of him.

Eight in 10 people surveyed in Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh as well as in the eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal are satisfied with Modi.

“Since 2015, Modi’s popularity is relatively unchanged in the north, has risen in the west and the south, and is down slightly in the east,” said the report.

The survey shows a drop of 21 percentage points in favorable view of America among Indians. It has gone down from 70 per cent in 2015 to 49 per cent in 2017.

“Only 40 per cent express confidence in President Donald Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs, down 34 points from their faith in his predecessor Barack Obama in 2015,” says the report.

China’s favorable rating among Indians has also dropped, from 41 per cent in 2015 to 26 per cent in 2017. Pew conducted this survey before the two countries faced Doklam crisis this summer.

On an average, despite sporadic outbreaks of communal violence, few Indians see communal relations as a very big problem in the country, the report added. “Similarly, despite Prime Minister Modi’s decision last November to abolish high-value bank notes, less than half of the Indian population sees the lack of availability of cash to be a major problem,” it said.

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