Indian Americans’ political views and outlook on Indian democracy: Report


Howdy Modi Event, 2019 (Image Source: Twitter/Kaushal Patel)

The report indicated that Indian Americans are more liberal on issues affecting the United States and relatively conservative on issues relating to India. 

According to a report released on Tuesday based on a survey of the Indian American community in September last year, indicates that Indian Americans have mixed opinions on the present trajectory of Indian democracy. The survey was conducted by YouGov for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Pennsylvania between September 1 and September 20. It had a total of 1,200 respondents. 

The report stated, “while a bare majority appears largely supportive of Narendra Modi and his government, a significant minority is not.” When questioned, if India is on the right track, 36% of the respondents had said it is, 39% said it is on the wrong track, and 25% had said they do not have an opinion. People born in the United States, were more pessimistic (32%) and Indian-born (39%) were more optimistic about the current trajectory of India.

The survey reiterated the popularity of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) among the community as 32% favored BJP while just 12% backed the Congress. However, 40% of the respondents said that they don’t identify with any political party. The report stated, “an arms-length relationship to everyday politics in India.”

Modi continues to remain popular among Indian Americans as 35% strongly approve of his job performance and 13% approve. While a total of 9% of the respondents disapproved and 22% strongly disapproved. As per the report, the greatest Modi supporters include Republicans, Hindus, people in the engineering profession, those not born in the United States, and people who hail from North and West India. 

Another finding of the study is that Indian Americans are more liberal on issues affecting the United States and relatively conservative on issues relating to India. The report cited an example where 90%  of respondents agreed members of all faiths should be treated equally. From these, 60% were opposed to the ‘Muslim travel ban’ imposed by former US President Donald Trump but only 49% opposed the Indian government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

On the topic of ethnic majoritarianism, the report said: “Indian Americans believe white supremacy is a greater threat to minorities in the US, a country where they are a minority than Hindu majoritarianism is to minorities in India, a country where Hindus (the most common faith of Indian Americans) are in the majority.” 

The survey also covered major issues in India that the community is concerned about. The major concerns are government corruption (18%), economy (15%), religious majoritarianism (10%), and healthcare (8%), China (7%), terrorism (7%), caste discrimination (6%), education (6%), income inequality (5%), climate change (4%), and sexism (4%).

The overall margin of error of the survey is  +/- 2.8%.

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