We were unaware of Gujarat poll dates, says Pew director

We were unaware of Gujarat poll dates, says Pew director

The Pew Research Centre, which has been receiving brickbats over their recent survey on India, said the timing of survey result and Gujarat poll schedule is just a coincidence.

The uproar was created by the release of the survey results which said that 88% of Indians are upbeat about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In an interview with DH, Bruce Stokes, director, Pew Global Economic Attitudes at Pew Research Centre, said, "It was just a coincidence that our survey report was released weeks before Gujarat is going to polls. I was personally not aware that elections will be held in Gujarat."

Stokes was in Jaipur on Tuesday to speak at a Faculty Develpoment programme jointly organised by the Centre for Mass Communication, University of Rajasthan and UNICEF.

The survey, based on 2,464 respondents in India and conducted between February 21 and March 10, stated that nearly nine in 10 had a favourable opinion of Modi, who has held power for a little over three years.

Further, while defending the authenticity of the survey, Stokes said: "Every year we do the survey in February or March. We do it for 40 countries and release the results one after another. The survey has reflected the mindset of the people during the time when we conducted it."

When asked about the authenticity of the survey as it was held after demonetisation, Stokes said, "Maybe the results could have been different. That time demonetisation was praised as an anti-corruption move that is what has reflected in our research."

When asked if Pew is ready to hold another round of survey with the same respondents with same questions to see the difference, Stokes quickly responded, "No, we don't think so. But in our next survey, we can again keep a question on corruption status in India to check if demonetisation has really helped or not."

Stokes is also touring India to interact with people from across classes to frame questions for the next survey in 2018.

"For the 2018 survey, we may weave questions based on the popularity of GST, uproar over Padmavati, communal violence and issues such as cow vigilantism," he added.

Defending the small sample size, Stokes said, "Our sampling and methodology was perfect. We hired local partners in India. For instance, the survey is done in eight languages."

However, when asked why Kashmir, Kerala and the Northeast were kept out of the survey, Stokes said, "We couldn't conduct the survey in Kashmir due to security reasons. But we should have included Kerala. It could have made the results more inclusive."

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