Indians are strong votaries of Populism & Nativism: Ipsos Global Survey

Only 4 in 10 Indians feel society is broken ; though 69% Indians feel the system is broken to favor rich & powerful 80% Indians believe a strong leader can wrest the country from rich and powerful 63% Indians exhort employers to hire locals over immigrants- A 27-Country Survey

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  • Madhurima Bhatia Media Relations and Content lead
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According to a new survey by Ipsos christened Populist and Nativist Sentiment 2019, the survey provides an interesting peek into views of Indians, about their beliefs on macro issues, especially about governance and immigrants with a strong sentiment emerging for Populism and Nativism.

Interestingly, only 4 in 10 (40%) Indians believe that our society is broken. The sentiment is more profound at the global level, with over half of those polled (54%), across the 27 markets, believing that the society is broken; with some markets displaying alarming levels of disruption in society – particularly, Poland (84%), South Africa (78%), Brazil (74%) and Spain (69%).

The System is broken.

All is not hunky dory.

The good news for India ends there. So, while the society is not broken, the system is.

And there is a high level of disgruntlement palpable among Indians for 2 reasons: One, at least 69% of Indians polled feel that the economy is rigged to favor the rich and powerful. Two, 68% Indians feel that the traditional parties and politicians do not care about them.

Populism – panacea?

There is a strong belief in populism and its effects - at least 80% of urban Indians polled believe a strong leader can wrest the country back from the rich and powerful. Further, at least 72% Indians believe that India can be fixed by a strong leader, who is willing to break the rules.

However, skepticism is also seen to be rife, with at least 61% Indians complaining that the experts do not understand their lives.    

Nativism – strong sentiment for empowering the natives. Inclusivity for immigrants  

At least 63% Indians strongly believe that in the scenario of scarce jobs, employers should prioritize hiring natives/ locals over immigrants. Also, 49% Indians believe that immigrants tend to grab social schemes, depriving the locals, who should’ve been the beneficiaries, first. At the same time at least 35% Indians believe that as a country we would be better off if we allowed immigrants to settle in, especially those who expressed their desire to. This sentiment is the highest in India vis-à-vis all 27 global markets.      
"The System is broken, is the overriding view. It favors the rich and powerful and that politicians disregard interests of the Common Man. We see affinity for a strong leader, who is unafraid in taking bold decisions (Populism) and there is also a strong desire for Nativism – empowering of locals and natives via jobs and social schemes. There is a feeling of dilution, with immigrants taking away what is rightfully of the natives. At the same time, we see acceptance for immigrants, a feeling of empathy and inclusion," says Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos in India and Operations Director, Asia Pacific, Ipsos.  

About the Study 
These are the findings of a survey conducted in 27 countries via Global Advisor, the online survey platform of Ipsos, between March 22 and April 5, 2019.  
For this survey, Ipsos interviews a total of 18,528 adults aged:

• 16-74 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden;

• 18-74 in Canada, Israel, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States of America;

• 19-74 in South Korea 

The sample consists of 1,000+ individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and of 500+ individuals in each of the other countries surveyed. The data is weighted so each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of its adult population according to the most recent census data, and to give each country an equal weight in the total “global” sample.  

Online surveys can be taken as representative of the general working-age population in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. Online samples in other countries surveyed are more urban, more educated and/or more affluent than the general population and the results should be viewed as reflecting the views of a more “connected” population.

Sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. The precision of online surveys conducted on Global Advisor is measured using a Bayesian Credibility Interval. Here, the poll has a credibility interval of +/-3.5 percentage points for countries where the sample is 1,000+ and +/- 4.8 points for countries where the sample is 500+. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please go to   



The author(s)

  • Madhurima Bhatia Media Relations and Content lead

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