A majority of Indians of all generations see corruption as a widespread problem that they don't think the current government is doing enough to combat, according to a new US poll, which says the issue will "resonate" in these elections.
Contending political parties' promises of tackling the country's graft "likely resonate with Indian voters, including the estimated 150 million young people who will be casting a ballot for the first time," according to Gallup, a leading US public opinion organisation. Three-fourths of Indian adults aged 18 to 34 said in 2013 that corruption is widespread in their government, nearly identical to the %ages of similarly minded adults aged 35 to 54 (76 %) and 55 or older (72%), it said.
Voters in the North may be somewhat more receptive to anti-corruption messages than those in the South, Gallup said noting nearly nine in 10 Indians in the North believe corruption is widespread in their government, compared with 65 % in the South.
However, as recently as 2012, 82 % in the South saw government corruption as pervasive, suggesting the issue is likely not far from their minds.
A slim majority of Indians (51 %) do not believe the current government is doing enough to fight corruption, which could cost the governing Congress party some votes, Gallup said. This includes 54 % of 18 to 34-year-olds, who have the potential to be a potent political force because of their numbers.
Regionally, the East gives the Congress party-led government the most credit for fighting corruption; 50 % say the government is doing enough to fight corruption, while 26 % say it is not.
In the North, 80 % say the government is not doing enough. These differences could reflect the efforts of local governments in fighting corruption and may not necessarily represent views of the national government, even though the survey question wording specifies "the government of your country," Gallup said.
Young Indians are currently divided in their perceptions of the honesty of elections, with 46 % saying they are confident in the process and 43 % saying they are not, Gallup said. Older Indians are more likely to say they are confident in the honesty of elections than not.
Confidence in the honesty of elections also varies by region, with the North leading the country in terms of electoral pessimism.
Less than a fifth of residents in the North say the electoral system is honest, while majorities in the South (52 %), West (64 %), East (63 %) and central part of India (67 %) are more confident.
Gallup said survey results are based on face-to-face interviews with 3,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted September-October 2013 in India. Before 2013, results are based on face-to-face interviews with approximately 2,000 to 5,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted 2008-2012 in India. The margin of sampling error is Â±2.2 %age points, according to Gallup.