The Majority of Citizens in 12 EU Countries are Not Interested in the Upcoming European Elections

The Level of Awareness of Other European Leaders is also Very Poor, with Only Three Obvious Exceptions: Merkel, Cameron and Hollande

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

GlobalA new poll of citizens in 12 European Union Countries feeling the pulse of voters ahead of the upcoming EU Elections indicates that 62% of them are not much interested in the event.

The poll was conducted from April 1, 2014 to April 25, 2014 and surveyed 8,833 adults in Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

The level of interest is low across all the countries surveyed: the highest level of interest is recorded in in Poland (48%) France (47%) and Italy (46%), while the remaining countries follow with gradually lower levels: Hungary (40%), Great Britain (39%), Ireland (38%), Belgium (37%), Germany (37%), Spain (33%), Croatia (33%), Sweden (32%) and Netherlands (20%).

The low level of involvement in the elections has an obvious fallout on people’s reported likelihood to vote: just one-third of respondents (35%) declare they will definitely vote, while another 30% say they are likely to vote 35% unlikely.

The highest percentage of definite intention to vote is recorded in Belgium (53%) – where voting is mandatory by law – in France (44%), Netherlands (41%), Italy (39%), Hungary (38%), Sweden (37%), Germany (37%), Croatia (33%),Ireland (30%), Spain (30%), Great Britain (27%) and Poland (20%).

Both the low level of interest and the limited intention to vote are associated with low levels of awareness of leaders of other European countries and of candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission.

Respondents were asked to express their opinion on the leaders of the other eleven states and the answers highlight a dramatic gap between the awareness of Merkel (86%), Cameron (76%) and Hollande (72%) and all the other country heads.

If the high levels of don’t knows for Matteo Renzi of Italy should not come out as a surprise given his very recent appointment, it is interesting to notice that only 40% of citizens in the other eleven countries know Spain’s Mariano Rajoy.

One in 2 citizens in the other eleven countries gives a positive opinion on the German Chancellor (51%). Angela Merkel is best liked in Croatia (81% positive), followed by Poland (60%), Netherlands (58%) Hungary (53%) and France (52%). The most disapproving of the Chancellor are the Spanish (51% negative, and just 28% positive).

The British Prime Minister obtains a positive score from 35% of respondents in the other eleven countries.

David Cameron is best liked in Croatia (52%), Italy (47%) and Ireland (42%), while his acceptance is below the average in Germany (25%) and Sweden (21%).

The French President tends to collect more negative opinions (32% of those in the other countries) and only 1 citizen in 5 judges him positively. Consensus around François Hollande is quite variable, with Croatia (45%), Italy (25%), Poland (25%) and Spain (24%) valuing him definitely better than Germany (14%), Great Britain (12%), Netherlands (12%) and Belgium (10%).

As for the competition for President of the Commission, again the level of information on candidates appears to be very low across the countries. The most well-known candidate is Marine Le Pen (53% know her) leader of the French Right and candidate for the European Alliance for Freedom, she outdistances by 13 points Martin Schulz (40%), the German socialist selected by the Party of European Socialists, the former Luxembourger premier Jean-Claude Juncker (39%) candidate for the European People's Party, José Bové (39%) French political activist, running for the Green Party, and Guy Verhofstadt (37%) with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Less well-known are Ska Keller (31%) with the Green Party and Alexis Tsipras (31%) leader of the European Left.

And what impact do these European citizens expect the Elections will have on their own country? On average, 37% of them expect the impact to be a positive one - although it will be strong and positive for only 8% of them, as opposed to weak and positive for 29% - while one citizen in four expects the outcome to have a negative influence (14% weak and negative, 12% strong and negative).

The most optimistic live in Spain (46%), Germany (43%), Italy (41%), followed by Croatia and Hungary (39%), Ireland (38%), Poland (37%), Sweden (36%), Belgium (34%), Great Britain (32%), France and the Netherlands (31%).

Respondents from the 12 countries surveyed from April 1 to April 25, 2014 and included interviews in Belgium (500), Croatia (500) France (1000), Germany (1001), Great Britain (1000), Hungary (500), Ireland (500), Italy (1000), the Netherlands (832), Poland (500), Spain (1000) and Sweden (500). Those interviewed were respondents from the Ipsos Online panel group for each country (except in Croatia where interviews were carried out by phone) and were weighted to approximate the general population of each country surveyed. Overall figures quoted are an average across the ten countries (ie treating each country as equal). The credibility interval margin for 500 is +/- 5.0% 19 times out of 20 and four 1000 is +/-3.5% 19 times out of 20.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Nando Pagnoncelli
Ipsos Italy

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The Majority of Citizens in 12 EU Countries are Not Interested in the Upcoming European Elections


Nando Pagnoncelli
Ipsos Italy