New Pew Data on European Public Opinion: EU is Unpopular; the Germans and French are Arrogant, and No One is Paying Attention to the Reinhart-Rogoff Debate

by Joshua Tucker on May 14, 2013 · 2 comments

in Comparative Politics,Public opinion

Pew has a very interesting new survey out on attitudes towards the European Union among citizens of eight EU countries. Here are a just a few of the more interesting results.

First, attitudes towards the EU are getting worse. While there is always going to be some noise in these kind of data, the consistency of the negative changes is noticeable. What I think is potentially most important are the two countries (France and Spain) where we’ve gone from significant majorities with a favorable view of the EU to majorities without a favorable view. The stunningly low numbers of Czechs who now see EU membership as having harmed economic development is also worth noting.

EU_1

Second, contrary to popular wisdom, large numbers of people still seem to prefer cutting spending in order to reduce the debt as opposed to stimulus spending as a way out of the crisis, the Reinhart-Rogoff brouhaha not witstanding. The headline number here in France is really quite stunning, but given the recent tone of the political discussion in Italy I would not have predicted twice as many people supporting cuts to reduce the debt to stimulus there either. (Greece as the outlier here though makes sense.)

EU_2

Third, Pew probably even undersold this point – Germans appear to be living on a different planet, let along a different continent. (Although I wonder about the decision to compare Germany to the median, as opposed to mean, level of support on each of these different questions. Would make it irrelevant whether other countries above the median are closer to median or closer to German levels):

EU_3

Finally, some slightly more lighthearted data (although note the correlation between being trustworthy and arrogant!). Found it interesting that people apparently value seeing themselves as compassionate more than trustworthy or not arrogant. Also not sure what to make of the fact that French see themselves as most arrogant in Europe!

EU_4

Finally, as someone who studies post-communist countries, it was interesting for me to see that when Pew picked eight countries for the study, two of them were post-communist EU members (Poland and the Czech Republic). Not sure why they left out all of the post-communist Euro adaptors (Slovenia, Slovakia, and Estonia), but hey, it’s a start.

Full report is available here.

{ 2 comments }

MTrost May 14, 2013 at 6:20 am

Oh, but the French think of themselves as the least and the most arrogant!

And the most arrogant are Greek and Germans, both crowning themselves three times.

Jamie Hill May 20, 2013 at 6:34 am

Joshua

You have absolutely nailed the key issue in a few paragraphs. I will now be quoting you whenever anyone asks where I stand on Europe.

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