According to public opinion, corruption is still a serious issue within Czech society

A clear majority of citizens (87 %) considers corruption to be one of our country’s biggest problems. A quarter of the population (24 %) is of the view that almost all public officials take bribes, with half of respondents (52 %) believing that the majority of those in public office do so. A two-thirds majority of the public (67 %) does not believe that Bohuslav Sobotka’s government is genuinely trying to resolve the country’s major tunneling, embezzlement and corruption cases. This figure is up on last year. Three-quarters of the population (77 %) also do not believe that Sobotka’s government has managed to lower the level of corruption in society. Almost two-fifths of respondents (38 %) have noticed some improvement in relation to the pursuit and prosecution of those involved in tunneling, embezzlement and corruption.

This survey was conducted by the STEM non-profit institute (www.stem.cz) on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 30 November to 12 December 2016. Respondents were selected using a quota sampling method, with some 1,020 people taking part in the survey.

At 87%, a clear majority of citizens considers corruption to be one of our country’s biggest problems. Despite the fact that public perception of corruption as a problem was not as pronounced in 2015 (at the time of the survey, the Czech population was intensely focused on the migrant crisis issue), the current survey indicates a return to the figures recorded in previous surveys, although the proportion of “definitely yes” responses still remains lower than for 2011 and 2012.

Source: STEM, Trends 2010-2016

The opinion that corruption is one of our biggest problems is shared to a similar extent by all citizens, regardless of age, sex and education. Furthermore, there are no fundamental differences in opinion on this issue in terms of political party preferences – Communist Party (KSČM) supporters: 91 % positive responses; ANO: 86 %; Social Democrats (ČSSD): 86 %; Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL): 80 %; Civic Democrats (ODS): 82 %; TOP 09: 78 %).

The seriousness of the corruption problem in the eyes of the public is highlighted by that fact that only one quarter of respondents believes bribery to be limited to only a small number of public officials. Half the population is of the opinion that the majority of those in public office participate in corruption and indeed one quarter of citizens believe almost all public officials to be involved in corruption. In light of the surveys conducted since 1996, the current findings are in no way exceptional, with the public’s critical attitude towards this issue remaining fairly stable over the years.

Source: STEM, Trends 12/2016, 1020 respondents aged 18+

Source: STEM, Trends 1996-2016

As in 2015, STEM’s December survey included questions designed to assess public satisfaction with Bohuslav Sobotka’s government’s attitude towards finding a solution to the problem of corruption. A comparison of the two surveys shows a decrease in the proportion of respondents (by 8 percentage points) who believe that the current government is making a genuine and conscientious effort to have the country’s major tunneling, embezzlement and corruption cases investigated. This means that one third of the public currently believes that Sobotka’s government is making a genuine effort to resolve the problem of corruption. However, in relative terms, Sobotka’s government is still doing better than Petr Nečas’s government (in December 2012 one fourth of the population believed that Nečas’s government was making a genuine effort to investigate corruption).

Source: STEM, Trends 2015/12, 2016/12

The Czech public is still very skeptical in its assessment of the outcome of government efforts to combat corruption. Similar to 2015, three-quarters of the population does not believe that Sobotka’s government will manage to substantially reduce the level of corruption.

Source: STEM, Trends 2015/12, 2016/12

Supporters of the ruling parties have differences in opinions on the current government in relation to the fight against corruption. The proportion of those who positively assess the government’s corruption record is higher among Social Democrat (ČSSD) and Christian Democrat (KDU-ČSL) supporters than among ANO supporters (whose attitudes are similar to those of the opposition Communist Party (KSČM) supporters). As expected, the majority of right-wing opposition party supporters rate the current government negatively on the issue of combating corruption.

Source: STEM, Trends 2016/12, 1020 respondents aged 18+

(Given their low representation in the group, figures for TOP 09, STAN and SPD supporters are only approximate.)

Almost two-fifths of respondents have noticed some improvement in relation to the pursuit and prosecution of those involved in tunneling, embezzlement and corruption in recent years.

The surveys conducted over the years have shown that responses to questions relating to corruption remained relatively consistent from 2004 to 2011. In December 2012 STEM recorded an increase in positive responses, which can be attributed to the highly publicized corruption case involving governor and Member of Parliament David Rath. Public optimism continued to grow in 2013. In June 2014 the proportion of positive responses dropped again to two-fifths, and in subsequent years continued to decline slightly.

Source: STEM, Trends 2001-2016

Supporters of the government parties, the KDU-ČSL and ČSSD, as well as STAN supporters, are more likely to perceive an improvement in the prosecution of tunneling, embezzlement and corruption cases. Two-fifths of ANO and Communist Party (KSČM) supporters believe there has been an improvement in the handling of corruption. By contrast, the majority of SPD and ODS supporters rate the government’s handling of the issue negatively.

Source: STEM, Trends 2016/12, 1020 respondents aged 18+

(Given their low representation in the group, figures for TOP 09, STAN and SPD supporters are only approximate.)