A Pew Research Center poll says India's Hindu nationalist opposition party is leading the incumbent Congress party in the run-up to national elections this year.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, has the momentum ahead of the vote, which is to be held by May.

BJP trounced the Congress party in recent state polls, which were seen as a gauge of voter sentiment in the secular country of 1.2 billion.

The poll released Wednesday says the Indian public, by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer BJP to lead the next government over Congress.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

Pew interviewed 2,464 randomly selected adults in states and territories that are home to roughly 91 percent of the Indian population.