<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By now, most readers would be aware that as per survey done by Pew Research, PM Modi is ‘by-far’ the most popular leader in India. That is as obvious as saying that Game of Thrones is by-far the most talked about show in urban India. What lies behind the mesh of data provided by Pew are interesting nuggets about his real support base, which go well beyond the Whatsapp forwarding trigger-happy uncles. Also, the survey shows while the Indian love affair with PM Modi is well and truly on, there are certain issues where he is seen to be lagging.It needs to be kept in mind, the survey was held in February-March this year, before the implementation of GST and before Indians got to know that 99% of notes again went back to the system post demonetization. So one has to interpret 83% of people happy with economic situation of India in that context. Some of the interesting points from the Pew survey:Modi more popular in South than North and West!This is something that will be music to the BJP’s ears. In South India, which is not a strong base for BJP, Modi enjoys 95% favourable ratings, higher than in West, East or North. It shows that while BJP may be lagging in states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, owing to lack of good leadership, PM Modi enjoys overwhelming popularity. The popular theory is that BJP is a party of North and East, and in South its Hindu nationalistic effect is neutralized by Dravidian sub-nationalism. If Pew research is to be believed, Modi has clearly breached the giant Vindhya divide and it can potentially be a spring board for BJP. The survey was not done in Kerala, a battleground for volatile RSS- CPI(M) battle in last few years. One can’t help wonder if the survey result would be different if Kerala was included.Not just the urban male support-baseMany times BJP baiters caricature the support base of the party as urban-predominately male. However, Pew survey shows that stereotype doesn’t really add up in hard numbers. PM Modi virtually has equal favourability among men (89%) and women(86%). He is most popular among the youth (90%), closely followed by those in 30-40 age category (89%). Incidentally it is 7% less in those above 50 years age.In urban India, 92% support PM Modi, whereas he is viewed favourably among 86% of rural population. A staggering 95% of those who have gone to college approve of PM Modi’s ways. Now, they all definitely are not BJP supporters and approval shouldn’t be equated with a vote in elections. But it shows that Narendra Modi’s support base is consolidating and even growing after three years at the helm. Pew didn’t offer any religion-based support parameters for the leaders, which would have given a fascinating data set. Handling of communal issues continue to remain an issueOne of the growing line of criticism faced by BJP and PM Modi, that communal tensions have shot up in the last few years. There have been allegations that cow vigilantes are on the rise. Stories like Dadri lynching have been splashed in major international outlets. It seems that’s an issue which resonates with Indian voters too. Only 50% think he has done a good job in handling communal relations. Only 43% women approve of his methods in this criteria.The good news for Modi and BJP, is communal relations comes pretty low in priority for Indian voters. Only 37%, thing it is an important issue, probably an indicator of the general majority electorate.Modi’s Pak and China policy gets a big thumbs down: For a poll, which has virtually given overwhelming positive numbers to PM Modi’s policy measures, it throws a shocking number for his Pakistan policy. Only 21% approve of his handling. Probably the blow hot and blow cold approach hasn’t gone down well with the voters. The numbers are so low despite the surgical strikes done on September 2016. The Pak policy is still in a limbo and the numbers merely manifest the general frustration with the situation. PM Modi’s China policy also has received lukewarm support. Only 33% approve of it, whereas 30% disapprove it and others have no view to offer. One needs to remember, this survey was done pre-Doklam stand-off, which was ably defused by the Modi administration. So it’s a reasonable assumption that his approval number about China would be few notches up now. BJP, not exactly a party of 31% support base:One popular liberal rhetoric post 2014, has been that only one out of three Indians voted for BJP and hence the party won just because of splintered opposition. But the survey shows, nearly 85% Indians have a favourable view of BJP. The number is 59% for Congress. Despite all the online acrimony, 60% of Congress party supporters have a favourable view of the BJP. Whereas the number is 45% for BJP supporters having a positive view of Congress. The underline implication of it is many times voting pattern is determined by winnability. A lot of people particularly in South and East may have favourable view of BJP, but they are not voting for them as they are stilll a feeble force. In other words, mere goodwill is not enough to win elections.

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From South India’s love for PM Modi to his Pakistan problem: 5 things Pew Survey tells us beyond the obvious