Supporters of the BJP are more likely to “voice confidence” in US President Donald Trump than their Congress counterparts. However, regardless of the party, almost half of Indians disapprove of Trump’s policy on increasing tariffs or fees on imported goods — a point of contention between the two nations. This opinion, on the other hand, is counterbalanced by an increasing negativity towards China and a consistent positivity towards the US over the past five years.
The new findings are from a report of US think tank Pew Research Center about public opinion in India. The recent face-to-face survey, conducted yearly since 2014 as part of a larger Global Attitudes Survey, involved 2,476 randomly sampled respondents who spoke Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, and Telugu. The survey was conducted between June and October 2019.
Asked to choose between the US and China for important economic ties, the US has consistently been chosen by roughly 60 per cent respondents since 2014, and those choosing China slashed in half — from 14 to 7 per cent — in 2019.
Those describing their opinion of China as “very” or “somewhat favorable” has dipped from 35 per cent to 23 per cent and “very” or “somewhat unfavorable” opinions have risen from 41 to 46 per cent.
Lack of confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping has consistently remained at roughly 35 per cent, with a slight uptick of 7 per cent in those who are confident. On the other hand, confidence in Trump since 2016 has risen from 14 per cent to 56 per cent. These numbers are potentially due to more people now offering an opinion about the US President than before.
Indians’ opinion on the two countries’ influence on the economy presents another clear picture. Roughly 60 per cent of the respondents agree that the US and China are influencing their economy, but China’s growing economy was deemed a “bad thing” by 61 per cent, up from 46 per cent in 2014. On the other hand, three-quarters overwhelmingly believe economic ties with the US are positive in 2019.
India’s confidence in Trump’s foreign policy is matched or surpassed by very few surveyed countries. The Global survey found that those who had more consistent positivity towards the US maintained greater confidence in Trump.
With regard to several other foreign policy issues, India didn’t care as much as other countries. For example, when asked about Trump’s wall between the US and Mexico, India had the lowest disapproval rate of 33 per cent.
That being said, foreign economic influence overall seems to be dipping in Indian public opinion. The respondents were asked about foreign companies purchasing Indian companies. From 2014 to 2019, the percentage favouring it dipped from 56 to 43 per cent, while the disapproving opinions climbed from 30 to 47 per cent.
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