"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.

While the survey in which BJP is preferred by 63 percent of the respondents against 19 percent for the ruling Congress does not project the number of seats the two parties would get in the polls, Pew said Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, is more popular than the putative Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi.

The Pew Research Centre survey was conducted between December 7, 2013 and January 12, 2014 and included face-to-face interviews with 2,464 randomly selected adults, in states and territories that are home to roughly 91 percent of the Indian population.

The margin of error is 3.8 percent. According to the survey, just 29 percent of Indians are satisfied with the way things are going in India today; 70 percent are dissatisfied.

More than six-in-ten Indians (63 percent) prefer the BJP to lead the next Indian national government. Just two-in-ten (19 percent) pick the Congress. Other parties have the support of 12 percent of the public.

BJP backing is consistent across age groups. Support is almost equal between rural (64 percent) and urban (60 percent) Indians.

"More than six-in-ten Indians (63 percent) prefer the BJP to lead the next Indian national government. Just two-in-ten (19 percent) pick the Indian National Congress. Other parties have the support of 12 percent of the public. BJP backing is consistent across age groups. And support is almost equal between rural (64 percent) and urban (60 percent) Indians," the survey said.

Northern states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi – which together are home to more than 400 million people, give the BJP its highest level of support, with 74 percent saying they want it to lead the next government.

"The party's weakest backing (54 percent) is in the western states of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat (led by Modi as Chief Minister). Congress' strongest regional support (30 percent) is in the eastern states of Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand, among India's poorest areas and home to 270 million people," Pew said.

A majority says the BJP (58 percent) is likely to be more successful than the Congress (20 percent) in creating employment opportunities in the future.

"A similar proportion of the Indian public (56 percent) say BJP would do a better job than Congress (20 percent) in reducing terrorism. There is equal belief (56 percent) that the BJP will do more to combat corruption. Only 17 percent say Congress would do a better job dealing with this issue," Pew said.

(Agencies)

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