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4 in 5 Indians are concerned about their democracy

A large majority of Indians are concerned about their democracy, a new YouGov poll shows ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US. The research contradicts his government’s efforts to dismiss such concerns as smears and propaganda from outside India.

The poll shows that:

  • 81% of Indians are concerned about the health of their democracy, including 44% saying they are “very concerned”.

  • 80% or more of Indians are concerned about freedom of expression, judicial independence and corruption, and state government corruption and abuse of power, and 78% or more are concerned about central government corruption and abuse of power.

  • 70% of Indians are concerned about Hindu nationalist extremism as well as Muslim fundamentalist extremism.

“For years India’s leaders have dismissed expert concerns about Indian democracy as foreign or partisan propaganda. This poll lets the Indian people weigh in”, said Ricken Patel, Chair of Friends of Democracy.

US President Joe Biden hosted PM Modi in Washington on 22 June for a state dinner and key trade meetings, and French President Macron has invited Modi as a guest of honour for the Bastille Day celebrations in July.

“Indian democracy is in danger - making it the biggest swing state in the global struggle between democracies and autocracies. Biden and other democratic leaders need to offer some candid advice at the end of the red carpet they keep rolling out for Modi, if they want to build a sustainable alliance based on genuinely shared values”, added Patel.

Many concerns about Indian democracy are longstanding, but expert observers like Freedom House report a worsening of indicators, and the poll confirms that most Indians see corruption, abuse of power and other problems as either staying the same or getting worse over the last 10 years since PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party came to power.

Detailed partial summary of results

1018 Adults polled in India

16th-20th June 2023

Margin of Error is +/- 3%

Q: How concerned are you about the following issues?

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