Washington: More than 60 per cent of Indian voters favour the BJP in the general election, due by May, while less than 20 per cent back the ruling Congress, a major American survey released yesterday said.
"With the Indian parliamentary elections just weeks away, the Indian public, by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer the Hindu-nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to lead the next Indian government rather than the Indian National Congress (INC), which heads the current left-of-centre governing coalition," Pew Research said.
The survey, which does not project the number of seats that each party is likely to win, said the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is more popular than Rahul Gandhi, who is leading his Congress party's struggling campaign.
Pew, a Washington-based think tank, interviewed only 2,464 randomly selected voters in states and territories that are home to roughly 91 per cent of the Indian population, between December 7 and January 12. The margin of error is 3.8 per cent.
According to the survey, less than a third of Indians are satisfied with the way things are today.
The survey said more than six-in-ten Indians prefer the BJP to lead the next government. Just two-in-ten picked the incumbent Congress, which is battling perception of a government mired in corruption scandals and unable to check a sliding economy.
Other parties have the support of 12 per cent of the public. The BJP's backing is consistent across age groups and almost equal between rural (64 per cent) and urban (60 per cent) Indians, the survey found.
The northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, together home to more than 400 million, support the BJP most, with 74 per cent saying they preferred the party.
The BJP's weakest backing, around 54 per cent, is in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Mr Modi's Gujarat.
Nearly 60 per cent voters said the BJP is likely to be more successful than the Congress in creating job opportunities, reducing terrorism and check corruption. The Pew survey said only 17 per cent say Congress would do a better job dealing with graft.