At the beginning of next year, it will have been 10 years since Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. In its regular survey ‘Our society 2002’, the Public Opinion Research Centre investigated how this historic move is nowadays viewed. Ten years ago, only a small proportion of citizens (22%) agreed with the move, while the majority (60%) say they were opposed to the break-up and 18% do not remember.
The general political orientation of the Czech population is one of the topics the Public Opinion Research Centre has been systematically monitoring. ‘In politics, people sometimes speak of the right and the left. Which of these groups do you think you belong to?’ The results reveal that, in October, 32% of respondents regarded themselves as left-oriented, which is slightly fewer than those regarding themselves as right-oriented – 37%.
The self-classification on a seven-point left-right scale has long been relatively stable. People consistently tend to declare their support for the right (35% in the last poll) and the centre (30%) and not to put themselves in the left section of the political spectrum thus divided (23%). In this respect, no major changes occurred prior to the June election to the Chamber of Deputies that marked a pronounced shift in voter support to the left-oriented political parties.
The Czech public has long perceived corruption (73%) and organised crime (70%) as two of the major social problems, requiring ‘very urgent’ action. Although general crime used to be widely regarded as the third worst problem, its position has been taken by unemployment (considered as ‘a very urgent problem’ by 67% of respondents, an increase by 19 percentage points since last October), which reflects its high current level in our country.
On the whole, the orientation to the right and the strong centre are still slightly predominant. In this respect, no significant changes have occurred during the last six years since when we have been monitoring the self-classification of respondents on a left-right scale. The left-wing orientation is traditionally reported among pensioners, blue-collar workers, respondents with low living standards and sympathisers of the KSCM and the CSSD – the latter also make a strong presence in the middle of the scale.
The following two statements met with the greatest response from those surveyed. 91% of them agreed with the statement ‘hard-working people deserve to earn more than others’, whereas 6% did not. The respondents took a similar stance on the last statement saying that ‘it is right that people with more talent and abilities make more money’. A total of 90% of respondents agreed with this statement, while 6% of those participating in the survey disagreed.
The left-wing orientation is traditionally reported among pensioners, blue-collar workers, respondents with low living standards and sympathisers of the KSCM and the CSSD – the latter also make a strong presence in the middle of the scale. The right-wing orientation is more widespread among people with higher education (high school with a final exam, universities), white-collar personnel, businessmen, intellectual workers, respondents with good living standards, as well as among supporters of the ODS, US-DEU and the 4K.