Universe: Spaniards of both sexes, 18 years of age and older.
Sample Area: National. All autonomous communities including Ceuta and Melilla.
Sample Size: 1,203 interviews.
Sample Structure: Stratified multi-stage. Proportional, according to the double criteria of size of the population of each autonomous community, with proportional quotas according to the age and sex of the population applied at the individual level.
Sample Error: ?2.9% (1,200n) for global data, p = q = 0.5 and a confidence interval of 95.5%.
Interview Method: Computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI system); call to home of interviewee.
Survey Period: Field work was carried out between November 15 and November 25.
Field work: TNS ? Demoscopia.
1. SPANIARDS ARE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE EUROPEAN UNION, DESPITE THE CLIMATE OF INSTITUTIONAL CRISIS
66% believe that ?after the results of the referendums in France and Holland, the European constitutional project should not be abandoned?.
Despite the pessimism reigning in the EU after these results, most Spaniards (66%) think that the EU is in good shape. 51% expect it to continue to be in good shape through 2006 and 36% think it will be better.
Also on an optimistic note, 63% feel the EU ?is competitive in a globalised world?, compared with 32% who think not, ?because it is losing jobs and companies are going to other more competitive countries?.
One of the most urgent problems for the EU to deal with is ?competition with China in trade?. Solving this problem is as important as ?having the Constitution ratified?, putting the Spanish somewhere between the British perspective and the continental perspective.
This optimistic assessment is tinged with a certain amount of concern when it comes to the future benefits of the EU for Spain. After twenty years of EU membership, 71% of Spaniards believe that the country has benefited a lot or quite a lot, compared with only 27% who think it has not.
But while this is the perception of the past, they believe that things will change in the future. Nearly half of those polled (46%) think that ?we will benefit less than we have until now?.
2. 2005 ON BALANCE AND EXPECTATIONS FOR 2006: EU, GIBRALTAR, RELATIONS WITH THE US AND IMMIGRATION
- On balance, 2005 was a year in which other EU-related matters were stable and unchanged. This was the case of ?Spanish power in the EU?, which remained the same in the opinion of 44% of Spaniards, compared with 29% who think it has diminished since early 2005.
- Gibraltar is the issue that has seen the least change: 78% feel it has not changed at all in 2005.
- On the international scene, 58% of Spaniards think that relations with the US have worsened in 2005.
- Illegal immigration is unquestionably the issue of greatest concern: 74% believe the problem has worsened in 2005.
The same is true regarding expectations for 2006: nearly half of those interviewed (46%) believe that the problem of illegal immigration will get worse. This is the issue that raises concern above all others.
If we compare the overall assessment of 2004 ?which was done in the 8th wave of the BRIE in January 2005?, Spaniards feel that 2005 has been worse than 2004 in terms of illegal immigration and relations with Morocco. These are also the two areas where there is least optimism for 2006.
3. IMMIGRATION: INTEREST IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA AND MEASURES AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
As a result of this growing concern for illegal immigration, there has been an increase in interest in sub-Saharan Africa as a priority for Spanish foreign policy. The region was mentioned by 18% of respondents, compared with only 10% in the first wave of the BRIE in November 2003.
Regarding solutions to illegal immigration, all those surveyed (100%) agree that the most effective plan is to help develop less developed countries.
Although there is tension between the defence of grand principles and national interests when it comes to specific measures to be taken, 63% agree that ?the subsidies given by European countries to farmers harm them in less developed countries?.
At the same time, a similar percentage (61%) reject the idea that ?Spain must reduce subsidies to its farmers so that those in the Third World can export their products?.
Spaniards agree almost unanimously (93%) that ?developed countries must provide more help to less developed countries that cooperate in the fight against illegal immigration?.
In the short term, a majority of 70% also agrees that ?to fight illegal immigration, border controls must be tightened?.
Also in the short term, 58% believe the proposal for a ?Euro-African conference between European and African countries to coordinate measures against illegal immigration? would be effective. PSOE and PP voters largely agree on this issue, with a difference of only 7% between them.
This shared concern regarding immigration is also clear in the consequences people expect of it. 62% think that ?riots led by young Maghrebi immigrants could occur in Spain, as they did in France in recent weeks?.
And two thirds of Spaniards (68%) think it is possible that ?if the Muslim population of Ceuta and Melilla continues to rise, there is a future risk that they may claim to be part of Morocco?.
4. MOROCCAN ACCESSION TO THE EU WITH SPECIAL STATUS
94% feel that ?Morocco does not do enough to fight illegal immigration to Spain from within its own borders?.
Among other things, this perception is likely one of the causes of suspicion that makes it the least desired country for new membership in the EU.
When asked for a direct ?yes? or ?no?, only 20% are in favour, while 77% are against the idea. Support for Moroccan accession has dropped constantly since May 2004, losing a total of 10%.
However, there is significantly less rejection of Morocco as an EU member if the possibility exists of ?special status as a privileged partner, but not one with full rights?. This idea is supported by 32%, meaning that if the question is asked this way, detractors and supporters balance out and interviewees are split evenly on the issue.
5. SUPPORT FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM EVEN THOUGH IT MAY MEAN DIMINISHED INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
After the March 11 terrorist attacks, Spaniards defend the implementation of new ways to fight terrorism ?even if it means diminished individual freedoms?. 90% agree with ?video surveillance systems in airports, stations and public transport in general?.
Only ?police phone taps without judicial approval? trigger general suspicion, and are rejected by 62% of the population.
6. SOLID DEFENCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND GLOBAL JUSTICE
Although the majority would give up certain individual rights in the fight against terrorism, Spaniards feel that human rights are fundamental and they defend the idea of global justice at any cost.
Accordingly, 87% agree that ?if the international courts are not doing their work, it is good for Spanish courts to prosecute crimes of genocide and human rights abuses and bring those responsible to justice?.
67% agree that ?it is good for judges and independent national courts to be able to prosecute them because international bodies continue to be subject to the law of the strongest and true justice is not done?.
And they do not believe there is a risk of overloading the Spanish justice system. Only 37% believe that ?if the Spanish courts also deal with international crimes they will be less efficient and Spaniards will lose out?.
7. SUPPORT FOR THE PRESENCE OF SPANISH TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN, BUT POOR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SITUATION
In line with the humanitarian, internationalist perspective revealed in the previous question, the spring Barometer already indicated that a small majority (51%) were generally in favour of the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan and, more specifically, their mission to protect the most recent legislative elections, which received a similar level of support.
Nevertheless, the results of the most recent survey show that 65% think that this mission is dangerous for the troops.
All in all, Spaniards are unaware of some fundamental aspects of the mission. Only 18% mention supporting democracy and stabilising the country?s politics as goals of the mission, while 7% mention peace or preventing a civil war.