The prime minister is very popular among men and women and among adults in both rural and urban areas
GN Bureau | November 17, 2017
Prime minister Narendra Modi’s growing popularity can in part be traced to public satisfaction with his handling of domestic issues, said Pew Research Centre in its latest report.
At least seven-in-ten Indians approve of how he has helped the poor and handled unemployment, terrorism and corruption. Approval in these four areas is up 10 points or more since 2016.
Public assessment of his dealings with various challenges is quite partisan. On all eight of the issues surveyed, BJP adherents are more likely than Congress backers to approve of Modi’s performance, by 25 points or more, said the report “Three Years In, Modi Remains Very Popular”.
BJP supporters have a more positive opinion on the economy than Congress supporters. But both groups are similarly satisfied with the direction of the country, despite a partisan gap of 18 points in 2016.
The report stated that nearly nine-in-ten Indians (88%) hold a favorable view of Modi. This includes 69% who express a very favorable opinion. Although support dipped slightly in 2016, it has recovered 12 percentage points in 2017 and now rivals that immediately after his election. Just one-in-ten Indians have an unfavorable view of the prime minister.
Modi is very popular among men and women and among adults in both rural and urban areas. Young Indians, those ages 18 to 29, show slightly greater intensity of support than their elders, ages 50 and older. Perhaps not surprisingly, BJP supporters are more intense in their backing for their leader than are Congress party adherents. Almost everyone has an opinion about their prime minister; a scant 2% expressed no view.
“No other major political figure in India approaches Modi’s level of public support,” it said.
A majority of adults hold a favorable opinion of both Rahul Gandhi, who led the Congress party in the 2014 election, and his mother Sonia Gandhi, the president of the party. Sonia is the widow of former prime ninister Rajiv Gandhi.
Support for both Congress party leaders is up from 2013, but it is down 5 points for Rahul and 8 points for Sonia since 2016. Slightly less than half of BJP supporters voice a favorable view of Rahul (46%) and Sonia (45%). Both Gandhis are more popular in rural areas than in urban areas, reflecting the long ties the Congress party has had with Indians in the countryside. Indians with a primary school education or less are more likely than those with some college or more to hold a favorable view of either Gandhi.
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