Modi more popular than in ’14: Survey

Gautam Lahiri

6 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has registered a lead over Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in a pre-polls survey.

In the run-up to the national polls, BJP government’s commitment to preserving 10 percent quota in job and education for the upper cast Hindus has earned more popularity.

The government’s decisions to pay 100 million farmers Rs 2,000 each by the end of March and carry out air strike on militant bases within Pakistan territory influenced voters.

The CSDS-Lokniti-The Hindu-Tiranga TV-Dainik Bhaskar Pre-Poll Survey, 2019 said 43 percent respondents support Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seven percentage points higher than what was recorded in 2014 Lokniti survey for the last Lok Sabha, the lower House of India’s parliament, elections.

There was neck and neck contest between BJP and Congress in the past, but above decisions and incidents changed the situation during a period from February 1 to 26.

The number is 9 percentage points higher than the 34 percent registered in May 2018 in Lokniti’s poll, showing that the prime minister has gained popularity over last year.

The survey cites three decisions of the current prime minister Modi-led NDA government as the prime factors behind the surge in popularity -- Balakot air strikes, 10 percent quota for economically weaker sections, and PM KISAN scheme.

Those who are aware of the post-Pulwama air strikes showed higher support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 46 percent as compared to 32 percent among those who were not aware of the air strikes. Similar numbers were found for 10 percent quota and PM KISAN scheme.

The impact of major campaigns by opposition against the prime minister was found to be relatively blunt. Fifty percent respondents said they were unaware of the Rafale row. Even among those who were aware and believed there was wrongdoing on government’s part, 31 percent favoured giving the NDA government another chance.

The impact of Congress’s assurance of a minimum income guarantee to the poor was found to be weak. Only 48 percent respondents had heard about the Congress’s NYAY promise and the awareness was lower still among the respondents who may stand to benefit from it. However, the promise was made right in the middle of the survey.

Unemployment and development continued to be biggest issues among the surveyed voters. Among those asked about preference for the next prime minister, the popularity of PM Modi was almost double than that of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Among regional trends, South turned out to be an outlier for current dispensation. While around 50 percent respondents in North, East and West-Central categories favoured giving a second term to PM Modi, only around 30 percent did so in South category.

Survey also found Modi has popularity crisis in South India compared to northern part of the country.

About 57 percent people are knowledgeable about job and education reservation quota and 47 percent like to see Modi’s next term. Around 37 percent of the people in the dark about the quota also favours him.

The pre-polls study also said 57 percent of the farmers already started to get money liked BJP regime.

Rahul Gandhi’s Congress tried to malign BJP over alleged irregularity committed by BJP government in procurement of Rafale fighter jets, but voters are least bothered about the issue.