The study also found that 78 percent of its respondents favoured BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as compared to the 50 percent who were supportive of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

The Pew Research Center said that most Indians surveyed are optimistic about the Indian economy. On foreign policy issues, a major section of those surveyed felt that Pakistan is a "great threat", and most also had an "unfavourable" view of China in contrast to most Indians holding a favourable view of US.

According to Bruce E Stokes, director, Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center (US), most people surveyed were more favourable towards the US than China.

"Indians have less confidence in Obama (President Barack Obama), around 10 percent less than the US," said Stokes, adding that Indians are also opposed to the US administration's "drone campaign" in Af-Pak to flush out militants.

The Pew survey said 63 percent of the people favoured the BJP in comparison to 19 percent for the Congress, while 78 percent viewed Modi favourably compared to 50 percent who supported Gandhi.

However, the Pew survey was done based on 2,464 respondents and during the period Dec 7, 2013 to Jan 12, 2014. The survey result, titled On Election Eve: Indians Reflect on the State of the Nation and the World, was presented by Stokes at an event hosted by Ananta Centre at the WWF auditorium here.

The survey does not mention the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which ousted the Congress from Delhi after 15 continuous years at the helm and is contesting over 400 Lok Sabha seats across the country, or the main regional parties like the Trinamool Congress, AIADMK or the Bahujan Samaj Party, which are likely to be major players in government formation post election.

Asked why the regional parties or AAP were not mentioned, Stokes said the survey was held "before the Delhi elections". On the small sample size of the survey, Stokes said that Pew is "confident" of the representative nature of the sample design and that most other surveys have come up with similar results.

Stokes said most people view the BJP as "better equipped to deal with problems" while the youth feel the party can deliver in terms of jobs and realizing aspirations. Asked if the survey had taken into consideration the factors of caste and religion, which play an important part among voters especially in rural areas, Stokes said it did not delve that deep.

According to the web site, "Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 2,464 randomly selected adults at their place of residence, in states and territories that are home to roughly 91 percent of the Indian population. The margin of error is 3.8 percent".


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