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US fact-tank "finds" two-thirds support BJP, yet 65% are "satisfied" with personal economic situation

By Our Representative
Is Narendra Modi-led BJP heading for a two-thirds majority in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls? It would seem so, if a recent survey carried out by a US-based “nonpartisan fact tank” in Washington, DC, Pew Research Center, is to be believed. Beating all opinion polls, which give BJP around 200 seats – a little over one-third of the Lok Sabha strength – Pew claims BJP has the support of 60 per cent of urban and 64 per cent of rural India, saying, “New poll finds Indians are disgruntled about the state of their nation, deeply worried about a range of problems facing their society and supportive of new leadership in New Delhi.”
Ironically, if Pew “non-partisan fact tank” is to be believed, the very same percentage of people “remain fairly upbeat" abut their personal economic situation today and the economic prospects for both India and the next generation. The survey results were released less than a week before the Lok Sabha polling process is to begin, amid wide-scale allegations of manipulation of opinion polls with the help of money power.
Pew says, it carried out the survey under the guidance of Princeton Survey Research Associates International making 2,464 face-to-face interviews between December 7, 2013, and January 12, 2014 “in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu, Odia, Marathi, Kannada and Gujarati” in 15 of the 17 most populous states, which together are home to about 91% of the adult Indian population.”
Claiming its poll fairly accurate, it says, “The margin of sampling error is ±3.8 percentage points. For the results based on the full sample, one can say with 95 per cent confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus the margin of error."
Pew researcher Bruce Stokes comments, “Rural Indians prefer the BJP, despite Congress’ long ties to the rural poor. The Congress party has long drawn much of its support from rural Indians and has pursued policies to solidify that backing, such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the National Food Security programme, both of which Indians overwhelmingly favour."
He adds, "Nevertheless, rural Indians favour the BJP, not Congress, to lead the next government by more than three-to-one (64 per cent to 18 per cent), roughly the same proportion as favor the BJP in urban areas.”
The researcher says, “Young Indians think the BJP is best suited to deal with India’s problems. By roughly three-to-one Indians ages 18 to 29 say the BJP will do a better job combating corruption, creating jobs, curbing inflation, reducing terrorism, helping the poor and ending political gridlock. Indians despair about their nation’s direction but they still have hope for the economy. By more than two-to-one Indians think India is headed in the wrong direction.”
At the same time, the Pew researcher believes, “But a majority (57 per cent) says the economy is good, despite slow growth. Six-in-ten (62 per cent) expect the economy to improve in the next 12 months. And 64 per cent think today’s children will be better off as adults than the current generation.” Pew adds, “just 10 per cent say it is very good and 47 per cent see it as good. Women (61 per cent) are somewhat more satisfied than men (53 per cent).”
It adds, “This positive assessment comes despite a recent government estimate that economic growth in the fiscal year ending in March 2014 would be just 4.9 per cent, up only slightly from expansion of just 4.5 per cent in the previous year. Indians in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the most dissatisfied with current economic conditions: 60 per cent of them say the national economic situation is bad.” Pew doesn’t explain this contradiction.
Despite such a good outlook, Pew “finds” seven-in-ten Indians are “dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country; only three-in-ten (29 per cent) are satisfied. This discontent is shared by young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural Indians in almost equal measure: men (72 per cent) and women (67 per cent); Indians ages 18 to 29 (72 per cent) and those 50 years of age and older (69 per cent); those with a primary school education or less (67 per cent) and Indians with at least some college education (75 per cent); and people living in urban areas (72 per cent) as well as Indians in rural areas (68 per cent).”

Comments

In opinion polls and surveys conducted by think-tanks and marketing agencies, BJP always does better than congress. However, the actual outcomes have generally been different.

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