Consumer’s Sentiment and the Evaluation of the National Economic Situation decrease for the third consecutive month, losing two and four points respectively, both having reached their lowest rating since the last elections of 2004, and continuing significantly below the equilibrium level. Personal Optimism continues in the same level as last month, below equilibrium. The two indicators of savings also continue in their usual levels. And post-materialism is again the only social indicator that varies significantly, losing three additional points, and maintaining a downtrend that suggests a return to materialist values, with greater emphasis on the importance of authority and greater concern about personal and economic security. Regarding political indicators, Satisfaction with how Democracy is Working increases five points, and Satisfaction with the National Government gains also two points, though it is still one point below the equilibrium level. With respect to the image of institutions, this month’s ranking is the following: The Crown (6.3 points in a scale 0 to 10 points), Armed Forces (5.8), the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court (both 5.6 points), the High Council of the Judiciary Power (5.3), the National Government (5.0), and the Banks (4.8 points). The ranking of leaders is the following: Princess Elena (6.2 points in a 0 to 10 points scale), Felipe Gonzalez (5.2), José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (4.8), Rodrigo Rato and Fernando Lopez Aguilar (4.3 puntos cada uno), Manuel Pizarro, Mikel Buesa and Perez Rubalcaba (4.2 points each), Mariano Rajoy and Gaspar Llamazares (3.7 points each), and José Mª Aznar (3.5 points in a 0 to 10 scale). Vote estimate reduces the difference of POSE over PP to only 1.8 percent points, less than half the difference observed in the 2004 elections. But it has been said repeatedly that since May 2004 what vote estimates show is a tie situation between the two most important national parties, with a variation in estimates that ranges from two percent points in favour of the PP to the opposite situation of four points in favour of the PSOE. One should always take into account the abstention estimate, 26% this month, which is almost four points higher than that of the elections of March 2004.
The Fight against ETA’s Terrorism
One third of R’s are in favour of continuing dialogue and negotiations to finish once and for all with the threat of ETA’s terrorism, while almost half of them are in favour of police investigation and judicial action. Those who were in favour of dialogue and negotiation were asked about the counterparts that might be offered to ETA in exchange for its final end to violence. Results show a majority rejection of all counterparts, including the legalization of Batasuna and the rapprochement of prisoners to the Basque Country. As regards Rs who are more in favour of police investigation and judicial action as the best way to fight ETA’s terrorism, they were asked with how much rigor they thought that both police and judges should act. 72% are in favour of them acting with much more rigor, and an additional 20% think they should act with some more rigor. Only 1% think they should act with less or much less rigor. One of the goals of this survey was to find out what Spaniards include under the label “terrorism”. Now it may be known that between 55% and 90% of them consider terrorism the following: murdering members of Police, the Civil Guard and the Armed Forces, murdering politicians, bombs and bomb-cars even if they cause no casualties, treats through any means, personal, postal, etc., actions of street vandalism of the “kale borroka”, letters requesting the “revolutionary tax”, and street demonstrations that cause non-personal damages. Another goal was to find out how Spaniards rate the anti-terrorist policies of the different democratic governments. Similar proportions of Rs say that they liked better the policies followed by the governments of Aznar (20%), Felipe Gonzalez (19%) and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (18%). But those that they liked less are also those of Aznar (36%) and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (22%). As for the policy that is considered as more effective, the majority mentions that of Aznar (21%), and in lower proportions those of Rodriguez Zapatero (15%) and Felipe Gonzalez (13%). To finish with this topic, 42% of this month’s Rs say that they fully agree or agree with the present Government’s policy to finish with ETA’s terrorist threat, as against 37% who disagree or fully disagree with it and 22% who, either have no opinion, or simply did not answer.
Public Opinion and Prison Sentences
80% of Rs believe that there are crimes that deserve sentences of more than 40 yeas in prison. More specifically, those who have this opinion were asked what would be the sentence that, in their opinion, should correspond to different types of crime. 59% of this 80% think that terrorists should be sentenced to life imprisonment until they die in prison, and even 22% would be in favour of sentencing them to death penalty. Proportions of Rs only somewhat smaller would also apply these sentences to children-molesters, to domestic violent subjects, and to narco-traffickers, and even lower proportions would apply them to house-intruders.
Judges and Politics and some recent Judicial Sentences
22% of Rs approve “that the Government advises or suggests to judges, directly or indirectly, to implement laws with benevolence or rigidity, depending on circumstances. But 49% disapprove this supposed governmental intervention in the implementation of laws by judges. On the other hand, 60% think that judges let themselves be influenced by the incumbent Government, always or almost always, when they have to judge imputed terrorists, and only 12% believe that judges never or seldom let themselves be influenced by the Government in this kind of sentences. More specifically, regarding some recent judicial sentences, public opinion is very much in agreement with the one that has sent Farruquito to prison (87%), and with the one that keeps the terrorist de Juana in prison (75%), rather in agreement with the sentence that declares Jarrai and Segi as terrorist organizations in the surroundings of the terrorist band ETA (47% agree as against 6% that disagree), and quite in agreement with the sentence that has accepted the rejection of a judge in the Constitutional Court (28% agree and 9% disagree).
Street Demonstrations against Terrorism
The demonstration against terrorism of January 13 was officially called by the Labour Unions, but public opinion attributes the call to the Government (11%) or to the PSOE (8%), and only 5% attributes it to the Labour Unions (the same proportion, on the other hand, that attributes it to the PP). On the other hand, the demonstration of February 3 was officially called by Foro de Ermua, but 14% attributes its call to the PP, only 9% attributes it to the Foro de Ermua, and a similar proportion attributes it (8%) to the Terrorism Victims Association. In any case, six out of every ten Spaniards don’t even answer the question on who called one or the other demonstration. And, besides, when they are asked with which of the two demonstrations they identify more, the same proportion, 11% in both cases, identifies with each one. 21% identify with both demonstrations, and 21% identify with none, and the remaining 36% do not answer the question.
Some recent Governmental Legislative Reforms
The great majority of Spaniards agree with some recent Government’s legislative measures regarding the body mass of fashion models (75%), aid to dependent persons (71%), driver’s licence points’ system (79%), new legislation on the sale and consumption of tobacco (71%), sale and consumption of alcohol (62%), and advertising and sale of hamburgers (47% in agreement and 16% in disagreement).
National and Nationalist Symbols
In January’s Flashes it was already pointed out that the proportion of Spaniards who identified with Spain was growing, to the point that it was already higher than the proportion who identified mainly with the town or city of residence, or with their region (Autonomous Community), (see Figure in Most Significant Indicator this month). Besides, using a 5 points scale, from “it bothers me very much” to “it moves me very much”, it may be seen that 60% of Spaniards say that they are very much moved when they see the Spanish flag, the same proportion that is moved when they listen to the Spanish National Anthem, and 53% say that they are moved when they listen to their regional anthem. On the other hand, more than 70% of Spaniards say that they don’t care when they see the Basque flag (the “ikurriña”) or when they see the Catalonnian flag (the “senyera”), that is, they are not moved nor bothered by them. However, 73% of Spaniards are very much disgusted when they see that a Spanish flag is burnt. Regarding the unity of Spain, 69% say they would be very worried “if Spajn would stop being a united country and would break up in several independent countries”, as against 10% who answer that they wouldn’t care at all, that they wouldn’t be affected, and 18% who say that they would be little worried or not at all. Precisely, with respect to the last question, 43% of Rs say that “the PSOE Government is defending with firmness and efficacy the unity of Spain”, but 36% say, on the contrary, that “the PSOE Government is contributing to the fragmentation of Spain and the cleavage among territories and peoples in Spain”.