Narendra Modi beats Rahul Gandhi in popularity: US survey

New Delhi | Updated: Feb 27 2014, 23:52pm hrs
WEEKS before the Lok Sabha elections, a latest survey conducted by an American think tank has said that BJPs prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is more popular than putative Congress party prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi and that the public, by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to lead the next government than the Congress.

Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world, conducted the survey between December 7, 2013 and January 12, 2014 during which face-to-face interviews were conducted with 2,464 randomly selected adults at their place of residence, in states and territories that are home to roughly 91 per cent of the Indian population. The margin of error is 3.8 per cent, the PRC said.

By a margin of better than two-to-one, the public says the BJP would do a better job on each of a half dozen challenges facing the nation from combating corruption to fighting terrorism. And the BJP candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, is more popular than putative Congress party prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi, grandson and son of former Indian prime ministers, the survey said.

It further stated that roughly eight-in-ten Indians (78%) have a favorable view of Modi, compared with 16% who hold an unfavorable view and that Modis support is especially high in the North, and he is seen favorably in both rural and urban areas and among high and low income and well educated and less educated Indians. Significantly, Gujarat figures in the list of three states, along with Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, where the survey has found the BJPs backing weakest (54%).

In comparison, Rahul Gandhi is seen favorably by 50% of those surveyed and unfavorably by 43%. The survey noted that Gandhis favorability is fairly consistent across demographic groups and his regional support is strongest in the eastern part of the country: in the states of Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

The survey said there is a notable difference between the intensity of support for Modi and Rahul with 60% of those surveyed saying they have a very favorable view of the Gujarati leader while just 23% of the public have a very favorable opinion of the heir apparent to the Gandhi family legacy.

Sonia Gandhi, as per the survey, is seen favourably by 49 per cent of the public while 46 per cent have an unfavourable view of her.

Almost 52 per cent people have a favourable view of PM Manmohan Singh while 42 per cent have an unfavourable opinion. Finance Minister P Chidambaram has found a favourable view from 37 per cent people while 39 per cent see him unfavourably, with 24 per cent voicing no opinion.

BJP president Rajnath Singh is viewed favourably by 43 per cent people, unfavourable by 34 per cent with another 23 percent having no view about him.

Anna Hazare, is seen favorably by 69 per cent of the public, making him the second most popular of the national figures tested in the survey.

The survey has gone on to state that more than six-in-ten Indians (63%) prefer the BJP to lead the next government while just two-in-ten (19%) pick the Congress.