21st Edition of the BRIE (July 2009)

21st Edition of the BRIE (July 2009)

Press Summary


  • Universe: general Spanish population, age 18 and over.
  • Sample size: N = 1,000 interviewees.
  • Interview methodology used: telephone (interviewee called at home).
  • Sample size: stratified, directly proportionate to the distribution of the national population with proportionate quotas according to age and sex.
  • Sample error: ±3.1% for global data (1,000n); ±4.4% for sub-samples (500n), p = q = 0.5 and a confidence interval of 95.5%.
  • Survey period: from 19 June to 3 July 2009.
  • Field work: Gabinete de Análisis Demoscópico (GAD).


  • The international financial crisis continues to be the greatest concern for Spaniards. Half of respondents identify this as the greatest threat facing Spain at present.

Graph 1. Issues of concern

  • But nearly half believe that it will not get worse and that the situation has stabilised, while 17% think it is beginning to improve. Only 30% believe it has worsened.

How would you describe the current international financial crisis?

– Continues to get worse and is deepening
– Getting neither worse nor better; not changing
– The situation is getting better

Graph 2. Opinion on the international financial crisis

  • In the current context of crisis, Spaniards are not demanding cuts in public spending, but rather continuity, with increases in social spending, as well as the promotion of Spanish culture abroad.

Table 1. Opinion on public spending

Development aid and cooperation7.543.043.56.0
Defence and Armed Forces27.
Diplomatic services and embassies34.245.914.85.1
Promotion of Spanish culture abroad6.635.153.25.1
  • Returning to threats, although international terrorism is perceived as one of the main dangers, a majority of respondents (53%) now identify ETA as the greatest threat facing Spain, versus only 18% who point to international terrorism.

In your opinion, what is the greatest threat facing Spain?

– International terrorism

Graph 3. Threats facing Spain


  • Spaniards also fear the possibility that Iran might develop nuclear weapons. 40% consider this a threat to Spain. This, plus the regime’s suppression of the opposition in the recent elections, has left Ahmadinejad with an approval rating of 2.6 points, one of the lowest rankings among world leaders.

Graph 4. Average rating of leaders on a scale of 0 to 10

  • It is also significant that Berlusconi’s low score makes him the European leader with the lowest approval rating among Spaniards.
  • Here we observe Berlusconi’s deteriorating image, undoubtedly linked to the scandals that have come to the attention of international public opinion in recent weeks.

Graph 5. Berlusconi’s average rating, BRIE 18 to 21

  • However, Berlusconi is also the most polarising figure, since he has a much higher approval rating among respondents on the right than on the left, with a difference of nearly two points.

Graph 6. Approval rates for world leaders


  • Still in Italy, but moving on to the G-8 Summit, most Spaniards (54%) have a positive opinion of Spain’s presence at the leaders meeting.

What is your opinion of Spain’s presence at the G-8 Summit in L’Aquila (Italy)?

Graph 7. Opinion of Spain’s presence at the G-8 Summit

  • Spain has less power and influence in the world than the countries around her, including Italy, France and Germany. However, Spaniards consider themselves ahead of Poland, Brazil and India.

Compared to the following countries, is Spain much less, less, equally, more or much more influential?

Graph 8. Percentage who responded that ‘Spain is much less influential or less influential than…’

  • Consequently, 76% would like Spain to be more influential in the world.

Which of the following statements do you agree with most?

– Spain’s influence in the world is fine as it is now.
– Spain should have more power in the world.

Graph 9. Spain’s influence in the world


  • Regarding the influence of the US in the world, 72% of Spaniards have a positive opinion of the US superpower –the highest percentage registered since the Barometer was launched in 2002–.

What is your opinion of the US as a country?

Graph 10. Opinion of the US

  • This figure is obviously related to the excellent popular opinion of President Obama, who, as we have seen, is the world leader with the highest approval rating.
  • 67% of respondents approve of the beginning of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

What is your opinion of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq?

Graph 11. Opinion of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

  • However, 60% oppose cooperating with the US by taking prisoners from Guantánamo.

Do you approve or disapprove of bringing prisoners from Guantánamo to Spain?

Graph 12. Accepting prisoners from Guantánamo

  • Unlike in the UK, where the Brown government has approved the creation of a commission to investigate the country’s entry into the Iraq War, most Spaniards (42%) do not want a similar commission to be created, versus 35% who do. This indicates that Spaniards are not showing a vindictive attitude.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that a commission has been established to investigate the UK’s participation in the Iraq War. Would you be in favour of establishing one in Spain to investigate its own participation?

Graph 13. Should Spain’s participation in the Iraq war be investigated?

  • Nevertheless, within the general consensus that a commission is unnecessary in Spain, PSOE voters favour it more than PP voters: 42% vs 24%.

Graph 14. Opinion on the establishment of a commission to investigate Spain’s participation in the Iraq War, according to the reported vote in the 2008 general elections


  • Perhaps due to the effects of the Iraq War, Spaniards are not convinced that Tony Blair would hypothetically be a good candidate for European President. He would receive the support of only 23%, while 30% would vote against him.

Would you be in favour or against the election of Blair as EU President if the Lisbon Treaty is approved?

Graph 15. Opinion of Tony Blair as possible EU President

  • Clearly, Spaniards prefer Felipe González, supported by 43% of respondents.

And Felipe González?

Graph 16. Opinion of Felipe González as EU President

  • Continuing with Europe, in Spain the European Parliament received one of the highest approval ratings.

I shall read you a list of institutions. Please give each one a score of 0 to 10, based on the work they do:

Graph 17. Approval ratings for institutions

  • Regarding the victory of centre-right parties in the latest European elections, 41% believe this has to do with domestic and temporary factors, while only 30% attribute it to an ideological crisis of the left.

Centre-right parties won the elections in Europe as a whole. Do you think the European left is in a general crisis or does this reflect temporary problems that respond to domestic factors?

Graph 18. Causes of the rise of centre-right parties in Europe

  • The opinion on the rise of radical parties is similar. Most respondents (54%) think they will not become consolidated as a political option in the European Parliament.

Extreme left- and right-wing parties have entered the European Parliament in these elections. Do you think these radical parties will become consolidated and pose a threat, or were these merely protest votes that will not result in a consolidated threat?

Graph 19. Opinion on the rise of radical parties


  • Asked about figures who could represent Spain to project a better image for the country abroad, Spaniards put the sports figures Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol at the top of the list, each with better than an 8 out of 10 score. Scientists also get high scores (Mariano Barbacid), as do entrepreneurs such as Amancio Ortega.

I shall read you a list of well-known Spanish people. Please give each a score of 0 to 10, based on their ability to project a better image of Spain in the world:

Graph 20. Ratings of well-known Spaniards