Economic and Consumers’ indicators have increased slightly with respect to results in December, but they continue to show a general climate of unsatisfaction, concern and pessimism regarding the national and personal economic situation, as can be seen in the figure that has been included this month under “Most significant indicators”. Satisfaction with the National Government continues to decrease, receiving again the lowest evaluation since the 2004 elections, bringing also Satisfaction with how Democracy is working to its lowest value since that election (though there still are more satisfied than unsatisfied persons in both indicators). Voting estimates confirm the equilibrium between the two major national parties that was already announced in December. If PP was then two decimal points of one percent above PSOE, now it is PSOE who is one decimal point above PP. None of these differences are significant, but they suggest with high reliability that there is a very balanced situation, very far from the eleven per cent points difference in favour of PSOE in May 2004. The Crown receives this month the highest rating (6.4 points on a scale 0 to 10), followed by the European Union, the UN, the Armed Forces, the National Government, NATO, and the Banks (4.8 points). Felipe Gonzalez and Jose Bono receive again this month higher ratings than President Rodriguez Zapatero, who continues to be rated below 5 points, as in December, and Javier Solana receives the same rating as Zapatero. Rajoy, on the other hand, though receiving a rating that is higher than the last four months, continues to be 1 point below Zapatero’s rating, but receives as usual a better rating than Aznar. ASEP’s system of indicators begins the new year 2006 with a climate of opinion more or less as negative and pessimistic as it finished 2005.
What really Matters to Spaniards
Data this month suggest that what really matters for Spaniards is not precisely what matters more for the National Government, and vice versa. Thus, in this month research respondents have been asked to indicate the degree of importance that they attach to 24 different issues to which mass media, political parties and politicians, and the National Government, have given more attention during the last month.
The issues to which Spaniards attach more importance, in order of importance, are the following:
• Stopping raising prices in basic services (electricity, water, telephone, gas, etc.).
• Reducing unemployment.
• Increasing retirement pensions.
• Paying a subsidy to those who take care of disabled relative.
• Establishing harder sentences on terrorists and making sure the sentences are fully implemented.
• Fighting delinquency through harder punishments on delinquents.
• Fighting corruption with harder sanctions and making sure they are fully implemented.
• Prosecuting the big bosses of drug trafficking, instead of the little dealers.
• Stopping more efficiently the arrival of non authorized immigrants.
• Restoring authority to primary and secondary school teachers.
Less importance is attributed to the following issues:
• Allowing more months of leave of work because of maternity.
• Maintaining good relations with the present governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia
• Maintaining good relations with Morocco.
• Forbidding pornography on TV.
• Maintaining good relations with the United States.
• Reducing advertising on TV, imposing harder sanctions on those who not abide by the norms.
• Sending Spanish troops to international missions as part of our compromises with the European Union, NATO and the UN.
• Forbidding smoking in public places, and imposing sanctions on those who do no abide by the norms.
But the issues to which Spaniards attach less importance or even no importance at all are:
• Reforming the statute of Catalonia and those of other Autonomous Communities.
• Approving marriage between persons of the same sex.
• Raising fines on those who double park or park in forbidden places.
• Establishing pacts with nationalist parties in exchange to political and economic concessions.
• Stimulating and favouring the use of regional languages (catalan, basque, galitzian, etc.) and reducing the use of Spanish.
• Favouring Gas Natural’s project to absorbing Endesa against its will.