New Delhi: A recent survey by an America-based think-tank named Pew Research Centre has revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity among Indians hasn’t died down, three years after he took office in 2014.

“Three years into Modi’s five-year tenure, the honeymoon period for his administration may be over, but the public’s love affair with current conditions in India is even more intense,” the report remarks.

The study surveying 2,464 respondents in India reveals the Modi wave that took the nation by storm in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections still prevails, despite the government’s debatable moves of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that drew criticism from some quarters of the nation.

In the period from February 21 and March 10, 2017, the study gauged the popularity of the Prime Minister, citizens’ judgement of socio-economic policies and the likes, among respondents of various age groups and regions.

As per the study, nearly nine out of ten Indians hold a favourable opinion of Prime Minister Modi, of which roughly seven out of ten said they have a very favourable view of him. Down south, at least nine out of ten Indians in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and in the western states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh hold a favourable view of the prime minister.

More than eight out of ten Indians in eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal and the northern states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh hold a favourable view.

While PM Modi’s popularity in the north remains unchanged, it has risen in the west and the south, and is down slightly in the east.

Overall, Prime Minister Modi has emerged as the most popular national figure in the organisation’s survey, whose popularity surpasses that of Opposition’s Congress President Sonia Gandhi by 31 per cent, and of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi by 31 per cent.

The economic policies of the Modi government were also welcomed by Indians, as per the survey, with more than eight out of ten Indians opining that the economic conditions were good, up 19 percentage points since immediately before the 2014 elections.

30 per cent adults believed that the economy was very good, triple the figures in the past three years. At least seven out of ten Indians have welcomed the Prime Minister’s steps towards poverty, unemployment, terrorism and corruption. On an average, seven out of ten Indians are now satisfied with the way things are going in the country. This positive assessment of India’s direction has nearly doubled since 2014.

The study also observes that Modi’s popularity is a case of partisan, wherein the 2017 partisan gap in favourable approval of Modi is 32 percentage points, larger than the 20-point divide in 2015 but relatively unchanged from 2016.

In all areas of governance, BJP supporters were more likely than the Congress supporters to approve of PM Modi’s performance, by 25 points or more. However, supporters of both parties were in consensus regarding their satisfaction with the direction of the country, despite a partisan gap of 18 points in 2016.

More than eight out of ten (85 per cent) respondents expressed faith in the government, of which 39 per cent expressed a lot of trust. Moreover, BJP supporters (90 per cent) turned out to be more trusting of the government than Congress backers (76 per cent).

The study also found that public is also quite satisfied (79 per cent) with the way their democracy is currently working. This includes 33 percent who are very satisfied. Again, BJP supporters (84 per cent) are significantly more satisfied with Indian democracy than are Congress backers (65 per cent). In matters of other countries or Prime Minister Modi’s relations with the international leaders, one-third or more of the respondents express no opinion.

Among those opining, half of Indian adults hold a favourable view of the United States, down 21 percentage points since 2015, while 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. There is also a decline in favourable public views of China.

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Free Press Journal