European Union: one step forward, two steps back

Jan Hartl Very few things provide a clearer picture than the ways in which our attitudes towards European integration and our membership in the EU have evolved over time. Let’s make a brief summary of developments to date. In doing so, we will draw on the wealth of data systematically gathered by STEM over the past twenty years. Period before the referendum In the short few years following November 1989 prior to the referendum, the regions of Bohemia and Moravia boasted strong pro-Western attitudes, a liberal perspective on the market economy and a positive outlook on the future. This is evident when…

No improvement in the public’s assessment of democracy and political parties

More than a third of Czech citizens (37 %) are satisfied with how democracy works in this country. An almost identical proportion of the population (38 %) agrees that the current political parties guarantee democratic politics. Current figures are somewhat higher than they were in 2011 and 2013 when the number of citizens who gave positive answers was very low. According to a two-thirds majority of citizens (69 %), the development of democracy is primarily the responsibility of capable and professional politicians. Half (50 %) of the population agrees that the success of democracy depends largely on the activities of ordinary citizens. These…

Czech citizens are now less accepting of foreign nationals than before

A quarter of Czech citizens (25 %) agree that every person who lives in this country should have the right to obtain Czech citizenship. The same proportion of the population believes that each ethnic group should be able to live according to its own traditions. These proportions are considerably lower than in previous surveys. Before the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2014, the percentage of citizens who agreed with the above opinions was 33 % and 46 %, respectively. The proportion of citizens who consider foreigners living in the Czech Republic to be too great a security risk…

Proportion of people who believe that tensions are high between Czechs and foreigners has risen substantially

A two-thirds majority of citizens (67 %) believe that tensions between Czechs and foreigners are very or relatively high. This proportion is significantly higher than in previous years. A three-fifths majority perceive strong conflicts between company management and employees (62 %) and between rich and poor (61 %). Slightly over half of the population (55 %) believes that there are strong conflicts between people of different political opinions. People less frequently perceive conflicts between the young and old (38 %) and, even less so, between urban and rural areas (27 %). The findings for these two groups remain unchanged, (with the exception…

What attitudes do Czech citizens have towards various nationalities and ethnic groups?

Czech citizens have a very good long-term relationship with Slovaks. This is also true of their relationship with the English, French, Americans and Germans. STEM surveys have revealed year after year a continuous and gradual improvement in the attitudes of Czech citizens towards Vietnamese, Russian and Chinese nationals. Czechs are less receptive to Afghans, Chechens, the Roma, Syrians and Arabs in general. The survey cited here was conducted by the STEM non-profit institute (www.stem.cz) on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 16 to 23 March 2016. Respondents were selected using a quota…

A third of Czech citizens say they believe in God

A third of Czech citizens (33 %) say they believe in God, a slightly lower proportion of the population than in the nineties. However, far fewer (8 %) attend church regularly (at least once a month). The exception is Christmas time when even some people who are not religious go to church. Indeed going to church is regarded as a Christmas tradition by over one third of Czech citizens (36 %). The STEM survey cited here was conducted on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 3 to 11 December 2015. Respondents were selected using…

SOCIETY’S REPORT CARD FOR 2015

The optimism which was brought about by changes on the political landscape after the 2013 early parliamentary elections is waning. This has manifested itself in a slight decline in public satisfaction with day-to-day politics. The work of the prime minister, parliament and government was rated somewhat lower than in the previous survey. Nonetheless, the prime minister’s work and government activities were among the more favourably rated areas of life in Czech society. By contrast, the president’s approval ratings have gone up significantly, with almost half the population giving him top grades (a one or two) in the latest survey…

World leaders through the lens of Czech public opinion

The world is undergoing significant change, and with it the perception of world figures and leaders. It may come as a surprise that in the secular society of the Czech Republic Pope Francis has masterfully come out on top, enjoying the highest ratings across all sections of the population. We can observe disillusionment with representatives of the Western European powers and growing sympathy for our neighbours. The European Union is of peripheral interest to the Czech public. The STEM survey cited here was conducted on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 3 to 11…

Trust in the European Parliament has significantly declined since last year

Slightly over half of Czech citizens (55 %) have trust in the UN and a similar proportion trusts NATO (52 %). However, while trust in NATO is relatively stable, we have recorded a decline in trust in the UN (by 8 % since 2015). Trust in the European Union institutions is even lower and, of the institutions in this overview, the EU institutions are among those with the lowest trust rating: some 29 % of citizens trust the European Union and 24 % trust the European Parliament. These are the lowest levels ever recorded for both institutions in STEM…

Proportion of people who trust the Government, Parliament and Senate has marginally declined compared with last year

Of the country’s political institutions, the Office of the President enjoys the greatest level of trust among citizens, with almost two-thirds of the population (63 %) trusting the president. Compared with the survey conducted one year ago, trust in the president has increased (by 8 %). Two-fifths of the public say they trust cabinet members (40 %), while trust in the Chamber of Deputies is at 36 % and trust in the Senate at 33 %. These figures indicate a modest decline in the proportion of people who trust these institutions. The survey cited here was conducted by the…