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Indians prefer Clinton to Trump, says new poll

world Updated: Jun 30, 2016 21:52 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Pew Reseacrh Center

File photo of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton responding forcefully to intense questioning on the attacks on US diplomatic sites in Benghazi during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 2013. (Reuters)

Indians won’t get to vote in the 2016 US presidential election, but they can hold a view. And they do, preferring Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, says a new poll.

Clinton, in fact, beats Trump in 15 of the 16 countries polled by US-based Pew Research Center. The 16th country was the US, but results were not immediately available.

Also, President Barack Obama remains popular with Indians, with 58% of those polled — 2,464 respondents — saying they are confident he will “do the right thing regarding world affairs”.

Obama polled high in all other countries as well as at home, except in Greece, which is struggling with a crippling economic crisis complicated by a spate of refugees from Syria and Iraq.

Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state, did well in all the nations polled, beating her presumptive Republican rival for the White House convincingly and comprehensively.

“Confidence in Clinton to handle world affairs is generally high,” a Pew report said on Wednesday. “By comparison, few trust Trump to do the right thing when it comes to foreign policy.”

In india, where the poll was conducted in face-to-face interviews between April 7 and May 24, 28% said they had confidence in Clinton “to do the right thing on world affairs”

Trump got the support of only 14%, half of Clinton’s. But, interestingly, his no-confidence vote was also quite low — at 18%, while 67% of those polled offered no opinion.

Were they ambivalent about Trump, wanted to give him more time, or did they really have no views on him, his controversial views and remarks reverberating around the world?

Indians have known Clinton for a while now, as the first lady who visited India before her husband, and as secretary of state, who spoke of India claiming its “rightful place” in the world.

Trump, who has two projects in India including Trump Tower in Mumbai, is known to have visited India only once in 2014, when he famously said, “I have a lot of money so I will invest.”

His controversial campaign trail remarks have intrigued Indians, many of whom, anecdotally, are following the US presidential election race more closely than before.

And, no, Indians by and large didn’t seem thrown off by the 2016 race, which was viewed negatively in some countries such as Australia (76%) and Canada (69%), both strong US allies.

Most Indians — 42% — said they had a positive view of the campaign (only 12% looked at it negatively), as did respondents in China and Japan. Asians may have a high tolerance bar.