Adults in Five Largest European Countries Unable to Name Current European Council President

New York, N.Y. – October 29, 2013 – A recent Financial Times/Harris Poll in the five largest European countries looks at the upcoming elections in the European Union and in Germany, as well as the power of the Commission President.

Next year, the EU will choose both a new European Commission President and European Council President. Hopefully the new presidents will be more memorable than the current ones, as both are still fairly unknown as their terms come to an end. Only a majority of Italians (54%) can name Jose Manuel Barroso as the Commission President, compared to 38% of Spaniards, 32% of French adults, 28% of Germans and just 8% of British adults. Even less well-known is Herman Van Rompuy, as just three in ten Italians (30%) and much fewer Spanish (16%), French (15%), German (14%) and British (4%) adults can name him as the European Council President.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among 5,206 adults aged 16-64 in France (1,013), Germany (1,040), Great Britain (1,073) and Spain (1,025), and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,055), between October 8 and 14, 2013.

Some other findings of this survey include:

  • Looking ahead to the forthcoming elections, there is a growing rise of Euro-sceptic candidates. However, more than half of Germans (54%), almost half of Italians (46%) and more than two in five Spaniards (44%) and French (42%) say they are unlikely to vote for such a candidate in either the European parliament elections or local elections. British adults are a little more divided, as two in five (39%) say they are neither likely nor unlikely to vote for a Euro-sceptic candidate, while 36% are unlikely to do so and 25% are likely to do so;
  • When it comes to Angela Merkel’s re-election, two-thirds of French adults (67%), three in five British adults (60%) and 56% of Germans all believe her re-election would be good for their country. Almost three in five Italians (58%) and 70% of Spaniards, however, think her re-election would be bad for their country;
  • Moving beyond the individual countries, two-thirds of German (67%) and French (68%) adults and 61% of Britons believe that Angela Merkel’s re-election would be good for Europe. Again, over half of Italians (55%) and almost two-thirds of Spaniards (64%) think her re-election would be bad for Europe;
  • When the new European Commission President is elected, over half of Italians (58%) and Germans (54%) believe that this new President should be more powerful than the incumbent, Jose Manuel Barroso. Two-thirds of British adults (67%) believe he should be less powerful than the incumbent. Spaniards are closely divided, with 51% saying less powerful and 49% saying the new President should be more powerful, and French adults are evenly divided, with 50% each saying more and less powerful;
  • Two-thirds of British adults (66%), over half of Spaniards (56%) and half of Germans (51%) say they would have a more positive view of the EU if it had fewer powers than it does now, while over half of Italians (56%) and French (57%) say they would not. Strong majorities in all five countries (between 60% in Spain and 83% in Great Britain) all say the EU governments should be able to restrict rights to benefits for citizens from other EU member states; and
  • When it comes to Romanians and Bulgarians being given full rights to work in any other EU member state starting in January, 2014, three in five Spaniards (61%) and Italians (63%) approve of this, while 64% of Britons, 63% of French and 58% of Germans disapprove.

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TABLE 1

ROMANIANS AND BULGARIANS GIVEN FULL RIGHTS TO WORK IN EU

Romanians and Bulgarians will be given full rights to work in any other EU member state from January 1 2014. Do you approve/disapprove?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Approve

36%

37%

62%

61%

42%

Disapprove

64%

63%

38%

39%

58%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 2

RIGHTS TO BENEFITS IN EU

Do you think EU governments should be able to restrict rights to benefits for citizens from other EU member states?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

83%

72%

66%

60%

73%

No

17%

28%

34%

40%

27%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 3

EURO-SCEPTIC VOTE IN FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS

How likely are you to vote for a euro-sceptic political party in forthcoming elections (European parliament, or local)?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Likely (NET)

25%

23%

19%

12%

18%

Very likely

11%

9%

9%

6%

6%

Somewhat likely

14%

13%

10%

7%

11%

Neither unlikely nor likely

39%

36%

36%

44%

29%

Unlikely (NET)

36%

42%

46%

44%

54%

Somewhat unlikely

11%

12%

15%

18%

24%

Very unlikely

25%

30%

31%

26%

30%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 4

CURRENT EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT

Next year, the EU will choose new leaders. Can you name the current European Commission president?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Jose Manuel Barroso

8%

32%

54%

38%

28%

Martin Schulz

0%

0%

2%

0%

1%

Herman Van Rompuy

2%

1%

1%

1%

1%

Angela Merkel

1%

0%

1%

1%

1%

Mario Draghi

0%

1%

1%

1%

0%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 5

CURRENT EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT

Next year, the EU will choose new leaders. Can you name the current European Council president?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Herman Van Rompuy

4%

15%

30%

16%

14%

Jose Manuel Barroso

1%

2%

6%

2%

1%

Martin Schulz

1%

0%

3%

0%

3%

Lithuania

0%

1%

1%

0%

0%

Dalia Grybauskaite

0%

1%

1%

1%

1%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 6

POWER OF THE NEW EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT

Next year, EU leaders will pick a new European Commission president. Do you think that person should be much less powerful/somewhat less powerful/somewhat more powerful/much more powerful than the incumbent, Jose Manuel Barroso?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

More powerful (NET)

33%

50%

58%

49%

54%

Much more powerful

8%

14%

10%

12%

7%

Somewhat more powerful

26%

36%

48%

37%

47%

Less powerful (NET)

67%

50%

42%

51%

46%

Somewhat less powerful

48%

34%

29%

37%

34%

Much less powerful

19%

16%

13%

14%

11%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 7

ANGELA MERKEL’S RE-ELECTION FOR YOUR COUNTRY

Do you think Angela Merkel’s re-election is very bad/somewhat bad/somewhat good/very good for your country?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good (NET)

60%

67%

42%

30%

56%

Very good

10%

12%

5%

6%

15%

Somewhat good

50%

55%

37%

24%

41%

Bad (NET)

40%

33%

58%

70%

44%

Somewhat bad

34%

26%

40%

41%

31%

Very bad

6%

7%

18%

29%

13%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 8

ANGELA MERKEL’S RE-ELECTION FOR EUROPE

Do you think Angela Merkel’s re-election is very bad/somewhat bad/somewhat good/very good for Europe?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Good (NET)

61%

68%

45%

36%

67%

Very good

13%

13%

8%

8%

16%

Somewhat good

49%

55%

37%

28%

50%

Bad (NET)

39%

32%

55%

64%

33%

Somewhat bad

32%

25%

38%

39%

23%

Very bad

7%

7%

17%

25%

10%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 9

VIEW ON THE EU POWERS

Would you have a more positive view of the EU if it had fewer powers than it does now?

Base: All EU adults in five countries

Great Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

66%

43%

44%

56%

51%

No

34%

57%

56%

44%

49%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Methodology

This FT/Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 5,206 adults aged 16-64 in France (1,013), Germany (1,040), Great Britain (1,073), Spain (1,025), and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,055), between October 8 and 14, 2013. Figures for age, sex, education, region and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult populations of the respective countries. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls and the British Polling Council.

The Harris Poll® #77, October 29, 2013

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

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