Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most popular of all Indian politicians, a survey conducted three months after demonetisation has revealed.
In a survey, released on 15 November, the Pew Research Center states that roughly seven in ten Indians say they have a “very favourable view” of PM Modi.
The Washington-based think tank surveyed 2,464 respondents in urban and rural Indian settlements between 21 February and 10 March, to find that while Modi’s popularity has remained unchanged in the north since 2015, it has risen in the west and the south, while registering a dip in the east of the country.
The survey did not conduct any sampling in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
Despite the recent economic slowdown, Modi was named the country’s most favourable politician, with a rating 31 percentage points higher than that of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
The survey report states: “The 2017 partisan gap in favorable approval of Modi is 32 percentage points, larger than the 20-point divide in 2015 but relatively unchanged from 2016”.
The rating was based on the PM’s handling of domestic issues such as unemployment, corruption, air pollution, terrorism, communal relations, situation in Kashmir, etc.
What Are the Issues Weighing on Indians’ Minds?
Over 85 respondents expressed trust in the government – with 90 percent BJP supporters predictably responding they were more trusting of the government.
About 79 percent respondents said they were satisfied with the way their democracy is currently working.
On the other hand, 55 percent respondents said they would support a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts. Another 53 percent said they support military rule.
Around 73 percent respondents claimed unemployment was a major problem facing the country. At least three out of four Indians cited crime and terrorism as problems in the country. However, despite the recent spate of religious violence, relatively fewer Indians viewed communal viewed religious tension to be problematic.
The study states: "Modi’s lowest ratings are for his handling of communal relations (50 percent) – the long fractious tensions between Muslims and Hindus and India’s various castes – and for his efforts to curb air pollution (48 percent)".
In terms of international ties, while 40 percent respondents expressed confidence in US President Donald Trump, confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping stood at 21 percent – up from 2016.
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