A survey of attitudes of the V4 countries´ citizens and Germany revealed several differences
Citizens of the Visegrad Group (V4) agree with relatively low satisfaction with the functioning of the political system in the country, trust in conspiracy theories or relatively low tolerance and low trust in the government compared to significantly different results from Germany. This follows from the results of the Political Culture, Democratic Values and Misinformation project: Detecting Democratic Footholds & Weaknesses in CEE, the main bearer of which was the Institute of Experimental Psychology of the Centre of Social and Psychological Sciences SAS (ÚEP CSPV SAV, v. v. i.). The researchers present their results in the popularization brochure Democratic Trends in Central Europe (in English).
International scientific team led by Ivan Brezina from ÚEP CSPV SAV identified sociopsychological profiles of people through a series of surveys. The researchers focused on democratic values, trust in institutions or trust in misinformation and compared the prevalence of these profiles across the V4 countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) and Germany.
"Despite the emphasis and perception of the importance of democracy, almost two-thirds of the citizens of the V4 countries prefer simplified political administrations, and almost half would be willing to sacrifice their democratic freedoms for greater security and the preservation of the traditional values of their country," explains Jakub Šrol from ÚEP CSPV SAV.
The biggest concerns of citizens in all the countries surveyed were poverty, social inequality and inflation. Countries differed in other categories of perceived biggest problems. While the biggest problems for the population of Germany are climate change and immigration control, for Slovaks, Hungarians and Poles, it is mainly corruption and health care. Czechs' concerns are corruption, but also internal politics and the economy.
"Slovakia also appeared as a certain outsider within the V4 area, for example, from the point of view of a relatively high degree of feeling of symbolic threat by Western countries or the LGBTIQ+ community, or the lowest degree of trust in the government among the studied countries," assesses the psychologist.
Only 24% of Slovak citizens answered the question Do you think that today's generation of young people in this country has a good future? positively. The biggest sceptics are the Hungarians, only 18% gave positive answers. The biggest optimists are the citizens of Germany, but this is the share of 41% of positive answers compared to 59% of citizens who perceive that their country may not provide a better future for future generations.
To have a liberal democracy with regular elections and a multi-party system is what most respondents want in Germany (81%), followed by Hungary (74%), the Czech Republic (73%), 67% of respondents in Slovakia and 66% in Poland. Respondents in Poland (34%) and Slovakia (33%) wanted a strong and decisive leader the most. According to the results of the project, the army and the police are most trusted in all countries. Among respondents from Slovakia, the government (16%) and political parties (15%) receive the least amount of trust. They have the lowest level of trust in all monitored countries.
Respondents also answered the question of who they would not like to have as their neighbours. In Slovakia, the group of "most unwanted neighbours" is made up of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa region (61%). Similarly, respondents from the Czech Republic do not want them either, it amounts to 70%. The lowest concern with refugees from the Middle East is in Germany (39%).
The research within the project was carried out by scientists on a sample of 5344 respondents - 1045 people aged 18-89 participated in Slovakia. Data collection took place from November 10 to December 9, 2022.
More detailed results and the most significant findings of the international comparison are summarized in the popularization brochure Democratic Trends in Central Europe (in English).
Political Culture, Democratic Values and Misinformation project: Detecting Democratic Footholds & Weaknesses in CEE, was supported by the International Visegrad Fund. In addition to the Institute of Experimental Psychology of the Centre of Social and Psychological Sciences SAS, the Institute of Psychology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Res Publica Foundation from Poland and Constructor University (former Jacobs Universtät Bremen) from Germany collaborated on the project.
Spracovala: Katarína Gáliková
Ilustračné foto: Wikimedia