This indicator was developed by Hadley Cantril (The Pattern of Human Concerns, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, N.J., 1965), who applied it in a great variety of countries since then. It is based on a scale 0 to 10 on the basis of which individuals are asked to rate themselves personally, their country and the world, taking into account that 0 represents the worst situation they can imagine, and 10 the best situation they can imagine, for each of the three cited subjects. And the same question is repeated for three dates, the present, one year before and one year since then. Data for a large number of countries demonstrate that, in general, individuals answer that their personal situation is better than that of their country, and that their country’s situation is better than that of the world. Similarly, individuals tend to answer that the present situation is better than the past, and that the situation will be even better in the future. In April 2006 the complete time series since 1990 was presented here, but now, taking into account the proximity of the next elections, it has been preferred to point out the evolution of these indicators since January 2004, only two months before the last elections in March 2004, till this month of November 2007, four months before the next elections. These data confirm international findings, as well as those for Spain between 1990 and 2004, in the sense that, for each of the three time periods, past, present and future, Spaniards think that their personal situation is better than that for the country, and this one better than that for the world. The differences are very significant. On the other hand, variations in this short period of three and a half years are rather small, but they are relatively larger with respect to the situation of Spain and relatively smaller with respect to the individual (6 decimal points with respect to Spain, 4 regarding the world, and 3 with regard to the individual). But the most important finding to underline when examining the most recent data, and especially those of this month of November, is that the present is evaluated the same than the past (in the case of the individual and the world) and even worst in the case of Spain. This finding implies a high level of insatisfaction and pessimism, especially regarding the situation of Spain, which is reinforced when observing that the evaluation of the future is the same than that for the present with respect to the individual and Spain, and only slightly better in the case of the world. Furthermore, it may be seen that Spaniards evaluate the present situation of Spain worst than one year before since December 2005 (with the only exception of April 2006, when they were the same), while until that date the evaluation of the present was always quite better than the past (with the only exception of April 2005, when both were the same). It must be remembered that in December 2005, for the first and only time since the last 2004 elections, PP was a little ahead of PSOE in voting estimate, mainly due to Government’s support to the project of a new statute for Catalonia and, in general, to Government’s concessions to different radical-nationalist parties. These data may be consulted in the CIRES (1990-1996) and the ASEP (1996- ) collections in this Data Bank.
to enlarge image, click over it