Pew Survey says 88 per cent Indians happy with PM Narendra Modi. Here's why you need to question it

The Pew Research Centre, a Washington DC based think-tank, has released a survey report 'Three Years In, Modi Remains Very Popular'. Here's why we need to question its findings.

The Pew Research Centre, a Washington DC-based think-tank has released a survey report Three Years In, Modi Remains Very Popular and the report is highly appreciative of PM Narendra Modi and his governance. But here’s why we need to question it. Out of 134 crore people in India, the Centre surveyed 2,464 people. Yes, that is their sample size.

Further, on one hand where the survey report mentions ‘Modi’s overwhelming popularity extending across India’, the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and all the seven north-eastern states were not even surveyed. Also, the survey which was conducted for 20 days, from February 21, 2017, to March 10, 2017, declares that 88 per cent Indians hold a favourable view of PM Narendra Modi and 83 per cent are happy with the state of Indian economy.

Source: Pew Research Centre


In their research methodology, the Centre goes on to mention that the survey was conducted face-to-face with all the 2,464 respondents and in languages including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi and Odia. In a country with such rich linguistic diversity, a survey in 8 languages can only be called a joke.

The Survey Report and its findings

Three years into Modi’s five-year tenure, the honeymoon period for his administration may be over but the public’s love affair with current conditions in India is even more intense.

According to the report, 70 per cent Indians are satisfied with ‘the direction’ and ‘the way things are going’ in the country today, which as per their view, is the highest such share recorded in past 4 years. To substantiate this, survey findings further state that more than eight in ten Indians say the nation’s economy is good, and 30 per cent believe it is ‘very good’.

Source: Pew Research Centre

Given their small sample size, all the findings can be contested. Below are three major ones:

1. Modi’s widespread popularity 

The report states, “Since 2015, Modi’s popularity is relatively unchanged in the north, has risen in the west and the south and is down slightly in the east.” It shows 85 per cent Indians have a favourable view of Narendra Modi but failed to survey the seven north-eastern states.

2. PM Narendra Modi has widespread public approval of his handling of domestic challenges 

According to the survey report, Modi’s lowest ratings are for his handling of communal relations (50%), followed by his efforts to curb air pollution (48 %), rising prices (57 %) and his handling of the situation in Kashmir (60 %). Seventy-two people approved of how Modi tackled the problem of unemployment. This comes after the UN Labour Organisation report declared in January 2017 that “unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million in 2016 to 17.8 million in 2017 and 18 million in 2018.”

Source: Pew Research Centre

3. Indians favouring an aggressive stance on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir

As per the survey findings, 63 per cent Indians believe the government should be using more military force. The point to be noted here is that Jammu & Kashmir wasn’t a part of the survey.

Source: Pew Research Centre

The margin of error of the survey is given as 3.5 per cent. Considering that out of a total 29 states, 11 states were left out and out of 134 crore people, only 2,464 were surveyed, the margin of error should have been 96.5 per cent instead.