Through his policies and governance, Modi has not only increased Indians’ pride in the country, his favourability ratings have jumped to 87 per cent and is being supported even from traditional Congress base, Pew said as it released details of the survey it conducted among 2,452 respondents in India from April 6 to May 19, 2015.
“But distrust remains, perhaps in part because incidents of communal violence were up by nearly a quarter in the first five months of 2015, under BJP rule, compared with a comparable period in 2014 when a Congress-led government was in power,” said the survey which was conducted before last month’s violence in Gujarat in the wake of agitation over reservation issue.
Modi’s lowest approval on domestic issues comes in his management of communal relations – the day-to-day interaction between majority Hindus and minority Muslims, Jains, Sikhs and Christians among others, as well as the relationship between the various castes in the country.
However, “the Modi phenomenon transcends India’s traditionally partisan politics,” Pew said in a statement, adding that on most of the challenges facing the nation, the prime minister and his party enjoy support from both the BJP faithfuls and followers of the opposition Congress.
Moreover, Modi and the BJP now have greater backing than Congress in rural areas, traditionally a Congress stronghold, according to the survey.
Roughly six in ten or more self-identified Congress supporters approve of Modi’s handling of a range of issues: access to clean toilets (66 per cent), unemployment (62 per cent), helping the poor (61 per cent) and inflation (61 per cent).
And majorities of Congress backers approve of the prime minister’s efforts against terrorism (56 per cent) and corruption (56 per cent), the survey said.
“Communal relations is the only surveyed issue on which fewer than half of Congress followers (47 per cent) approve of Modi’s efforts,” the Pew report said.
Modi has also succeeded in winning over rural Indians, both for his party and himself, Pew said.
The BJP is now slightly more popular in the Indian countryside than in its cities.
And the party’s favourability now exceeds that of Congress in urban areas by 31 points (83 per cent for BJP, 52 per cent for Congress) and in rural India by 25 points (89 per cent for BJP, 64 per cent for Congress).
“Modi is more popular than presumptive Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi in both rural areas by 23 points (Modi 89 per cent, Rahul 66 per cent) and in cities by 31 points (Modi 84 per cent, Rahul 53 per cent),” Pew said.