ASEP’s Indicators’ System
The majority of indicators are again a little better this month. Consumer Sentiment increases by two points and the Evaluation of the National Situation of the Economy increases by five points, though both indicators continue to be between 8 and 14 points below the equilibrium level. The two indicators on savings increase by five points each compared to last month. Personal Optimism, however, only increases by one point with respect to March, and is only one point below the equilibrium level. Satisfaction with the Quality of Life is generally very high, so that now in April it has only lost three points with respect to March. The remaining social indicators maintain the values they had in March. As for the political indicators, Satisfaction with Democracy decreases by one point, but Satisfaction with the National Government increases by eight points, thus recovering the value it received in July last year. The remaining indicators vary very little this month, and they maintain their usual values, but it must be underlined that Political Alienation decreases by two points, and Satisfaction with Spain’s membership in the European Union loses three points, though it remains clearly above the equilibrium level, while Exposure to Information decreases by one point and continues slightly below the equilibrium level. With respect to the image of institutions, ranking this month is the following: The Crown (5.9 points in a scale 0 to 10 points), Armed Forces (5.7), Constitutional Court (5.5), Supreme Court (5.4), Local Administration (5.2), the National Government and Regional Administration (5.1 in both cases), Central Public Administration (5.0), Courts of Justice (4.9), Catholic Church (4.7), and the Banks (4.5). All institutions loose between 1 and 4 decimal points with respect to the last time they were evaluated (something that suggests a generalized discontent of the population), except the National Government this month, that maintains its March evaluation, and the Regional Administration, that gains a decimal point since the last time that it was evaluated. In the ranking of public leaders, Princess Letizia obtains the highest evaluation. 6.1 points in a scale 0 to 10 points, a little above Adolfo Suarez (5.8), and even more about the one following, Felipe González (5.3 points), the only other two leaders who over the level of 5 points. Below 5 points are, therefore, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (4.9), Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo (4.4), Gaspar Llamazares (3.8), Mariano Rajoy (3.4), José Mª Aznar (3.0), Artur Mas (2.6), Vladimir Putin (2.4), Hugo Chavez (2.2), Carod Rovira (2.0), Fidel Castro (1.9), Arnaldo Otegui (1.2) and Josu Ternera, (0.9 points in a scale 0 to 10 points). The majority of public leaders receive evaluations that are equal or lower than those obtained the last time they were evaluated. Vote estimates is similar to that in March, 3.5 per cent points difference between PSOE and PP, only three decimal points less than in the last general elections of 2004. But one must repeat once more that since May 2004 all voting estimates have been reflecting a tie situation between the two largest national parties, with a variation between two per cent points in favour of PP to four points in favour of PSOE, depending on what is the turn out-abstention estimate. It must therefore be taken into account that the abstention estimate this month, 24.2%, is only 1.4 per cent points above the really observed in the March 2004 elections, implying a high participation rate, something that explains the difference between PSOE and PP, favourable to PSOE.
Next Local and Regional Elections
5% or Rs say that there has been some event causing them to change their vote intentions for the next elections. Out of these persons (58 in total), 12 intended to vote for PP but will vote for other parties, but 10 intended to vote for PSOE and say they will vote for another party. The remaining parties have even smaller numbers. It must be pointed out that out of the 58 persons that admit they have changed their electoral voting intentions, 10 will vote for PSOE, 13 will vote for PP, 2 for IU, 4 for “other” parties and 9 for no party at all, but 20 persons do not indicate what the change in their voting intentions will be. Those who say that they will change from voting PSOE to voting PP say they will do it because of the antiterrorist policy and the negotiations with the terrorist ETA and Batasuna, while among those who will change their vote from PP to PSOE the majority say that they are disillusioned with that party. Regarding total voting intentions, and applying similar criteria to those used in previous elections, one would have to estimate in about 82% the proportion of Rs who will vote in the next elections, but this is probably an exaggerated proportion. The electorate is much more mobilized to vote in the regional as well as in the local elections. Though the May poll will permit a more elaborated forecast, this month data suggest that PSOE and PP will have very similar results in local elections. But they will be much better for PP in regional elections.
The Fight against ETA’s Terrorism
A little less than one third of Rs think that “the Government has surrendered to ETA, that it has accepted its blackmailing”, but more than 40% sides with the Government in saying that the PP is lying and only wants to destabilize the Government. When asking about the presumed negotiations between the National Government and the terrorist band ETA, 41% think that the Government is telling the truth, while 32% think that the Government is cheating Spaniards. With respect to Government’s performance to finish with ETA’s terrorism, opinions are very varied, so that 26% of Rs think that “the Government has an efficient strategy to finish with ETA”, 23% think that “the Government has signed secret pacts with Batasuna and ETA”, and 18% think that “the Government is scared and prefers to give in”. Regarding the counterparts that the Government might end up accepting because of ETA’s and Batasuna’s requests, a majority of Spaniards think that the Government will accept “approaching ETA’s prisoners to the Basque Country”, but a very controversial opinion is found regarding whether or not the Government will favour giving freedom to ETA’s prisoners with no charges of blood crimes, and whether or not it will legalize Batasuna. On the contrary, a very wide opinion is observed regarding the Government not allowing the Basque Country to annex Navarra, and not accepting the total independence of the Basque Country. For several months now the question has also been asked about the counterparts that respondents themselves would be willing to accept. More than half of the respondents say that “the will NEVER accept total independence of the Basque Country, the annexation of Navarra to the Basque Country, and the legalization of Batasuna, 47% would never accept giving freedom to ETA’s prisoners with no blood crimes, and 41% would never accept approaching ETA’s prisoners to the Basque Country.
A New Center Party
For the third time a question has been asked regarding the possibility that respondents might vote for a new center party that would emerge between PP and PSOE, similar to what years ago represented the UCD. In September 2006 the proportion of respondents who said that they would “surely” or “probably” vote for such party was 17%, and in November of the same year it was 18%, but the proportion has increased till 23% now in April. Even assuming that the majority of those who say they would probably vote for this party would not really do it if the occasion arose, it may be estimated in something more that 10% of the electorate the proportion who would definitely vote for an option in the center.
Most Important World Problems
This month respondents had to answer which were in their opinion the world problems with which they were more concerned, which were the most likely to happen, and which would be the ones with more potential for conflict. The most cited problem in all three cases was the increase in terrorism, mentioned as the one about which they were more concerned (21%), as the most likely one (18%), and as the one with more potential for conflict (23%). Three other problems have been mentioned in proportions only slightly inferior as the most worrying, and also as the most likely: poverty, Earth’s heating, and water supply scarcity. However, three other different problems were mentioned as implying more potential for conflict, increase in violence and crime, increase in religious fanaticism, and increase of inequality among rich and poor countries.
Main Fears of Spaniards
Several times already Spaniards have been asked about what is it that they fear the most. In five polls already (September and December 2006, February 2006, and January and April 2007) between 20% and 25% of Rs mentioned that what they fear the most is to get a deadly and fatal illness. The second most cited fear is an ETA or an Islamic terrorist attempt, and the third one mentioned is a traffic accident, motorcycle or car, all of them between 10% and 17%. In January and April 2007 Rs were also asked about the likeliness of each of these fears happening to them. Both months about 20% mentioned a traffic accident, but while in January 2007 the second most likely fear (12%) was getting a deadly and fatal illness, in April the same proportion mentions the fear to illness, but also the fear to a terrorist attempt by ETA or some Islamic group. It is evident that the fear to both types of terrorist attempts has increased during the last few months, as the possibility of other fears has been maintained in the same proportions as in January.