The most awaited year in the recent history of Indian politics, is here. Will the country repose its faith in the Prime Minister or choose an alternative with whatever level of preparedness? The findings from the Firstpost-IPSOS ‘National Trust Survey’ in which 34,470 individuals from 291 urban wards and 690 villages participated. The respondents cut across class, caste and gender are drawn from 57 socio-cultural regions covering 320 parliamentary constituencies in 23 states.
The findings show that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most trusted political leader in the country with an approval rating of 53%. Nearest rival and Congress president Rahul Gandhi can a distant second with 26.9%. While Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee polled 4%, Mayawati polled 2%. Interestingly, the latest entrant to electoral politics from the Nehru-Gandhi family, Priyanka gathered less than 1 per cent. But the survey was conducted well before her formal entry to politics. In South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rahul Gandhi emerged a more popular leader.
In the Trust sweepstakes, not just Narendra Modi, but his Bharatiya Janata Party, also scored high, especially in the Hindi heartland states, for its ability to handle key of issues in country such as price rise, corruption, law & order, generating employment opportunities, bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, and access to affordable healthcare and education. Respondents rate the Modi-led government highly in the Hindi heartland and in western India. (See details below).
Modi’s popularity that the BJP might have a better chance if it successfully manages to make this election a choice between Modi and Rahul Gandhi, proving that the president of the Congress party is the obvious weaker opponent in the political battlefield. Findings suggest greater trust for regional parties in their respective states mainly in Tamil Nadu, Odisha, West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.
Among public institutions, Indians trust the office of the Prime Minister of the country the most (75 %) topping even the Supreme Court (73%) and Parliament (72%). The institution of the Principal Opposition party gets only 53% approval.
In the upcoming elections, development is the biggest priority. No less than 85% voters think that the election campaign for 2019 would be contested on developmental agenda and a majority of the respondents trust the BJP to solve burning issues like inflation, unemployment and corruption.
The top reason for voters remaining strongly disposed towards BJP Led Alliance/NDA was the promise of economic development. The second most popular reason, with 37% vote, is wanting to see Narendra Modi as PM. Those supporting INC have identified performance of previous INC Government as key reason. While 43% strongly agree with the corruption allegations made by the Congress that accuse the PM on the Rafale Deal, 74.3% said they will pledge support if Government brings in ordinance in favor of building Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
While 51% say either ‘no’ or ‘not sure’ about formation of Mahagatbandhan or grand alliance of opposition parties, 49% say that if it is indeed formed, it will give a tough fight to the BJP alliance and 34% feel it can even turn the election into a bi-polar contest.
The gap between the parties have narrowed in the survey conducted after assembly election 2018 results. Post the assembly election results, voters have shown more trust towards INC in resolving issues concerning people, which might be a matter of concern for BJP. Despite people having over or under claimed their vote share, the trend shows that the BJP will be able to retain 37.6% of its vote share, whereas, INC only 7.8%.
Decoding the Trust Pyramid:
Q. What are the institution you trust in?
- Prime Minister of the Country: 75%
- Supreme Courts: 73%
- Parliament: 72%
- Public authorities: 63%
- Council of ministers: 58%
- Principal Opposition Party: 53%
Q. Which parties do you trust can handle the following:
- Price Rise: 15 states in favour of BJP; INC ahead in Assam, Kerala & Punjab
- Corruption: 14 states in favour of BJP; INC ahead in Assam, Punjab & Rajasthan
- Infrastructure: 13 states in favour of BJP; INC ahead in Assam, Punjab & Rajasthan
- Law and Order: 14 states in favour of BJP; INC ahead in Assam, Jammu & Punjab
- Inclusive Growth: 14 states in favour of BJP; INC ahead in Assam, Jammu & Punjab