In comparison with the last year and even more significantly to the year 1999 virtually all the monitored subjects achieved a relatively distinct improvement of their evaluation (with the exception of ODS and media, whose resulting ”mark” has been worse than in 2001). Nevertheless, the public’s view on most of the monitored institutions still remains less positive than it was in 1998 and in particular in 1996.
Survey results reveal that the Czech public has somewhat ambivalent attitudes towards existing political and economic doctrines. In addition to there being the majority unequivocal approval of general liberal views (‘the state should not limit individuals, it should only create conditions for the exercise of their rights and freedoms’; the state should give businesses as much independence as possible’; ‘the scope of private property must not be limited in any way’), there is also a broad positive consensus.
At end of last year, public attention was devoted primarily to foreign events, as a result of the September attacks on the USA, conflict in Afghanistan and the tension in the Middle East. Over the course of time, the public refocused its attention from the above events to the domestic scene, where the Temelín issue dominated in January.
Survey respondents said that they took the greatest interest in local affairs (two thirds of those polled were very or partly interested), followed by an interest in the economic situation of our country (59.9% of those polled were very or partly interested) and an interest in information from abroad (56.7%). However, this information was not specified as ‘political information’; the question was posed generally.
No major sociodemographic differences occurred in respect of CSSD supporters (25%), except a higher percentage of white-collar employees. The ODS (23%) is attractive primarily for respondents with good living standards and voters with university or full secondary education. The party also occupies a strong position among businessmen and tradesmen, white-collar employees, intellectual workers and among Prague inhabitants.
The public considers the ODS and the CSSD to be two equal champions in the election, while not so many people believe in the success of the former Four-Coalition. It is widely believed that the election will not result in a change in the current state of affairs.
The ODS and the CSSD obtained most votes (both 19%) in the assessment of political personalities. In this respect, the results of the ODS and the CSSD were similar (see table 2) also before the 1998 election, whereas in 1996, the ODS had a commanding lead in the assessment of political personalities. The ODS is most frequently regarded by respondents as a party that makes the greatest contribution towards the development of entrepreneurship (40%) and that will best ensure the interests of the Czech Republic (18%).
From the leaders of the parties represented in the Parliament of the Czech Republic the highest level of public confidence was achieved by V. Špidla (57%). He is followed by Svoboda (37%), Marvanová (35%), Klaus (31%), Grebeníček (16%) and Žantovský (13%). Among party leaders people most often concurrently trust V. Špidla and C. Svoboda (26%). The top position remains in the hands of Stanislav Gross (trusted by 72% of the respondents), who is followed by Petra Buzková (65%).
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.
According to most of the respondents (63%) the morale of the politicians should be viewed more strictly than the morale of other citizens. More people think that politicians should be also judged by their private lives.