"The strong support for liberal democracy is a legacy of the communist era, but also of recent years in which the country is led from the back seat by a strong leader Jarosław Kaczyński", write the authors of the report "Voices from Central and Eastern Europe" prepared by GLOBSEC. This Slovakian organization conducted surveys in March on representative samples of more than one thousand respondents in ten CEE countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria).
When asked by the interviewers, Poles more often than citizens of other surveyed countries spoke out in favour of maintaining liberal democracy, the role of parliament and regular organisation of elections. This is the opinion of 66% of respondents, while 26% would like a "strong and decisive" leader who "would not have to worry about the parliament or elections".
A greater aversion to authoritarianism than Poland exists only in Hungary, which has been ruled by Viktor Orban for a decade - there as much as 81% praise liberal democracy, while 12% are of the opposite opinion.
At the same time, however, as many as 47 percent of Poles are satisfied with their democracy. This is the highest figure after Austria (where 86 percent of those surveyed declared themselves satisfied with the state of democracy). The authors of the report combine these answers with a high declaration of satisfaction with personal life. In Austria, it amounts to 96 percent, in Poland to 90 percent.
We do not fall into apathy
According to the authors of the report, the willingness to support authoritarian tendencies in politics can result from a bad personal situation. Strong government is the most popular among the Bulgarians. As many as 48% Bulgarian citizens want such a leader, while 35% believe in the role of parliament and regular elections. At the same time, only 18% Bulgarian respondents declared they were satisfied with their lives.
Poles generally state that it matters to them who is in power. Only 31% of respondents in Poland stated the opposite, followed by Austrians (43%) and Estonians in third place. Bulgarians turned out to be the most apathetic - as much as 59% of the respondents believe that it does not matter who is in power in Bulgaria.
Poles also less often believe that in their country certain social groups are favoured over others. In the survey, it was the Slovaks who most often indicated that not everyone in their country is treated equally (86% of respondents indicated this). A similar indicator is also found in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria (84% each). In Poland, however, 68% of the respondents said so, a lower level of indications was recorded only in Romania (62%).
United States still evoke sympathy
34% of Poles believe in conspiracy theories, which places Poland more or less in the middle of the list (Lithuanians are least susceptible to them - 17% and Slovaks the most at 56%). How was it studied? The pollsters asked the respondents specific questions (different in each country). In the case of Poland, the questions concerned, among others, whether they believe that in 1989, during the Round Table talks, a secret agreement was reached between the communists and the opposition, thanks to which the former are still in power. 48% of respondents believe in this theory. Fewer supporters (22%) are convinced that Donald Tusk together with the Russians ordered to shoot down a plane with President Lech Kaczynski on board near Smolensk.
Poles in comparison with other nations also turn out to be the most trusting towards the West. Only 23% of those surveyed in Poland consider the West as a threat to their culture and identity; 17% said so about the European Union, and barely 12% about the United States. At the other extreme are the Slovaks. The 50 percent of respondents sees the Western world as a threat, the EU 35 percent and the United States 53 percent.
The authors of the report write that such a high percentage should be combined with the history of the country, the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Slovak state and the presence of nationalist parties on the Slovak political scene. Both Slovaks and Czechs are most afraid of immigrants in their countries. The fear that they may threaten their culture and identity is shared by 72 per cent of respondents in both countries. In Poland this is the opinion of 41 percent of those surveyed.
Live and let others live
A much smaller proportion of Poles see the LGBT+ community as a threat to their culture. Only 25 percent of respondents are convinced that sexual minorities can threaten Polish culture and identity - lower share was recorded only in Latvia (23 percent), Romania (22 percent), the Czech Republic (12 percent) and Austria (4 percent).
The Odpowiedzialna Polityka (Responsible Politics) Foundation, GLOBSEC's Polish partner in the survey, did not hide its astonishment with such a result. The Foundation writes that contrary to popular opinion, Polish society turns out to be much less homophobic. It suggests that the answers should be sought 'in a low level of trust in the media strongly influenced by the Church and the government' (in the same survey only 33% of Poles considered the media to be free, at the same time blaming the government and not the oligarchs and interest groups for this).
"Neither do Poles trust the government, nor do they trust the narrative it is pushing through". - the foundation wrote in its comment about the survey. The second conclusion is that Poles traditionally "place emphasis on personal development, the welfare of their families and the success of small businesses". In this situation, they "oppose restricting the freedom of others, even in the name of preserving conservative values". "This position could be described in the words 'live and let others live'". - conclude the authors of the report.
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