Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains India’s most popular leader and the leading choice for the country’s top job, reveals “Public Opinion”, a special NDTV survey in partnership with Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
The survey sought to assess the public mood as PM Modi completes nine years in power this month and preps for a series of elections including the Lok Sabha polls next year. It was conducted across 19 states between May 10 and 19, just after the Karnataka election in which the ruling BJP lost to the Congress.
Despite the loss in Karnataka, the good news for the BJP is that PM Modi’s popularity remains strong and the party’s vote share remains steady. Around 43% of the respondents say the BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) should win a third straight term, while 38% disagree. Nearly 40% say they would vote the BJP if elections were held today. The Congress gets 29% of the votes.
The BJP’s vote share has increased from 2019 (37%) to 2023 (39%). So has the Congress’s – 19% in 2019 to 29% in 2023.
As many as 43 per cent of the respondents have said if elections are held today, Narendra Modi is their top choice for PM. His nearest rival is Rahul Gandhi – 27 per cent of those surveyed favoured him as Prime Minister.
The others are far behind when it comes to a popular choice for PM – Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal are tied at a distant third (both 4%), followed by Akhilesh Yadav (3%), Nitish Kumar (1%), and 18% for the others.
The data for 2019 and 2023 shows a marginal dip for PM Modi (44 to 43%) and an increase for Rahul Gandhi (24 to 27%). But PM Modi reigns supreme with 40 per cent of the respondents saying they like him.
PM Modi is liked most for his oratory (25%). 20% of the respondents said they liked him as a development-focused Prime Minister, 13% said they liked the Prime Minister because he is hard-working, and an equal number were impressed by his charisma. Around 11% appreciated his policies.
The respondents were also asked who they believed could challenge PM Modi in 2024. As many as 34% named Rahul Gandhi, while 11 per cent said it is Arvind Kejriwal. Akhilesh Yadav (5%) and Mamata Banerjee (4%) were chosen by a few as challengers. Nine per cent of the people surveyed said “no one” could challenge Modi.
As for Rahul Gandhi, 26% said they had “always liked him” while 15% said they started doing so after the Bharat Jodo Yatra. 16% said they “don’t like” the Congress leader while 27% were indifferent.
Over 55 per cent of people are satisfied with the government’s work on various fronts. Around 38% say they are “somewhat satisfied” with the central government’s work while 17% say they are fully satisfied. Some 21% say they are “fully unsatisfied”.
People remain largely divided over the role of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate amid opposition allegations that the agencies are being used by the government to hound rivals or engineer defections. 37% say the agencies are lawful and 32% believe they are a tool for political vendetta.
Lokniti-CSDS carried out the survey with 7,202 respondents spread across 71 constituencies.