6th Wave of the BRIE (may 2004)

6th Wave of the BRIE (may 2004)

Technical data

?         Universe: Spanish population over 18 years of age.

?         Size of sample: N = 1,219 individuals.

?         Interview: By telephone (to the respondents? own homes).

?         Sample: Stratified directly in proportion to the distribution of Spain?s population, with proportional quotas according to sex and age.

?         Deviation: ?2.9% (1.200n) for global data, p = q = 0.5 and a confidence interval of 95.5%.

?         Date of sample: Monday, May 10, to Tuesday, May 18, 2004.

?         Field work: Instituto INTERGALLUP S.A., member of THE GALLUP ORGANIZATION.


65% say they are against the strategy the US is using to fight international terrorism, while 30% agree with it.

This level of support is the lowest among the European countries included in the March survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, despite the March 11 attacks. Opposition in Spain is similar to levels in Morocco and Pakistan.

(%) For Against DK/DA  
US 81 13 6 100
UK 63 30 7 100
France 50 47 3 100
Germany 55 43 2 100
Russia 73 20 7 100
Turkey 37 56 7 100
Pakistan 16 60 25 100
Jordan 12 78 10 100
Morocco 28 66 6 100
Spain 30 65 5 100

Source: PGAP and BRIE.

Also, in Spain a slightly higher percentage, 75%, feel that the US is not sincere in its fight against terrorism. Distrust of the US government in Spain is even greater than in Muslim countries, where it is at its highest.

(%) Sincere Not Sincere Both DK/DA  
US 67 25 2 6 100
UK 51 41 3 5 100
France 35 61 2 2 100
Germany 29 65 1 5 100
Russia 35 48 9 8 100
Turkey 20 64 7 10 100
Pakistan 6 58 5 31 100
Jordan 11 51 24 14 100
Morocco 17 66 4 13 100
Spain 18 75 0 7 100

Source: PGAP and BRIE.

For 67% of interviewees, the US seeks only to control the oil in the Near East. Meanwhile, 54% believe the implicit goal of the war against terrorism is to dominate the world.

This mindset, combined with the news on the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison, has understandably led to enormous erosion of the US?s image. On a scale of 0 to 10, it received a score of 3.9, compared with 5 as reported in the first wave of the Barometer (November 2002), putting it at the same level as Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

Finally, 83% of Spanish people believe the war in Iraq has been counterproductive in the fight against terrorism. Among all the countries included in the PGAP, Spain is again the most critical of the US government, easily surpassing the 67% reported in Morocco.

(%) Positive Neither Positive nor Negative Negative DK/DA  
US 62 3 28 7 100
UK 36 5 50 8 100
France 33 10 55 2 100
Germany 30 5 58 7 100
Russia 22 18 50 10 100
Turkey 24 8 56 12 100
Pakistan 8 6 57 29 100
Jordan 12 37 36 15 100
Morocco 16 8 67 9 100
Spain 8 4 83 4 100

Source: PGAP and BRIE.


As a result of the above, most Spaniards (78%) agree with the Spanish government?s decision to withdraw its troops from Iraq: 48% agree very strongly and 30% simply agree. Only 19% disagree.

However, only 58% agree that the decision was made at the right time. Nearly 40% consider it to have been made hastily.

Regarding the consequences of withdrawing the troops:

  • 73% believe it will harm relations with the US, while 20% believe it will not.
  • 72% feel that it will improve relations with France and Germany, compared with 20% who feel it will not.
  • 57% think it will improve relations with Arab countries, while 32% think it will make them worse.
  • The majority (54%) do not believe that by withdrawing the troops Spain?s prestige will suffer abroad, compared with 38% who agree.
  • 49% think that it reduces the risk of Spain suffering a terrorist attack, compared with 43% who disagree.

As for the future, 50% would agree with Spanish troops returning to Iraq if the UN sanctions a multinational force there, while 42% disagree with this.


The majority (64%) think that the 3-11 terrorist attack would not have happened if Spain had not supported the US in Iraq, while 23% do not believe this.

On the same subject, 60% feel that 3-11 was the result of Spain?s international policy.

Other reactions to 3-11 were:

(1)     93% felt rage and indignation that someone could commit an act of this kind.

(2)     80% worried about security.

(3)     63% worried that the attack could affect the political situation in Spain.

(4)     45% feared that the attack could affect our relations with other countries.

(5)     Finally, only 20% were concerned that these events could affect their jobs, etc.

Among the causes of Islamist terrorism mentioned were:

(1)     Religious fanaticism (59%).

(2)     Opposition to US foreign policy (24%).

(3)     Poverty and social exclusion in Arabic countries (24%).

(4)     Hatred of the West and its values (21%).

(5)     Dictatorships in Arabic countries (16%).

Proposed solutions to international terrorism:

(1)     Development aid and cooperation with Arabic countries (43%).

(2)     Control of immigrants and mosques (34%).

(3)     Integration of immigrants into Spanish society (18%).

(4)     More police and security (17%).

(5)     Limiting Muslim immigration (15%).

(6)     War against countries that foment terrorism (4%).

When asked what the greatest threat to Spain is now, 45% replied that it is international terrorism, 15% said ETA terrorism and 38% said both.

Regarding the future, 44% think another attack on Spanish territory is likely, while a similar percentage (46%) do not think so.


The identification of Islamist terrorism with religious fanaticism has led to a negative attitude toward Islam, which is the lowest rated religion.

Subtracting unfavourable opinions from favourable ones, the resulting ranking is:

(1)     Catholicism: 55%.

(2)     Buddhism: 25%.

(3)     Protestantism: 12%.

(4)     Atheism: 10%.

(5)     Islam: -12%.

In reference to Muslims:

  • 82% associate the adjective ?religious?, compared with 13% who associate ?atheist?.
  • 80% ?authoritarian?, compared with 13% ?democratic?.
  • 62% ?strong?, compared with 31% ?weak?.
  • 57% ?violent?, compared with 34% ?peaceful?.

Despite the connection of Moroccan citizens with 3-11, although there is greater rejection of this group, it does not extend to most of the population:

  • Between 1996 and 2004 the percentage of Spaniards who would expel Moroccans trebled from 7% to 19%.
  • The percentage of people who would not marry a Moroccan increased from 39% to 52%.

Neither has Morocco?s image worsened. As in winter 2002 (according to the results of the Barometer), the country received a rating of approximately 3.5 points on a scale of 0 to 10. In any case, after Israel, with 3.1, the lowest rated countries are mostly Muslim: Iran (3.2), followed by Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Libya (3.7).


Although there has been speculation that the 3-11 attack could cause the Spanish to withdraw from an active foreign policy, 74% support an active role for Spain in international politics.

Also, this percentage has not varied since the winter of 2003, when it stood at 72% according to the results of the 4th BRIE.

Spaniards see internationalism more in humanitarian and cosmopolitan terms than in terms of realism or national interest. They see it as a question of contributing to the development of poor countries and alleviating humanitarian crises, rather than defending exclusively Spanish interests. Although there is also a feeling that we should have power in the EU, there is no desire to be a superpower. The ranking of preferences on Spanish action abroad (on a scale of 1 to 4) is:

(1)     Development aid for third world countries: 3.5

(2)     Sending humanitarian aid in cases of crisis: 3.5

(3)     Having more power in the EU: 3

(4)     Having greater presence in international bodies: 2.9

(5)     Entering the G-8: 2.7

(6)     Diplomatic mediation in the Near East: 2.5

(7)     Exerting influence to favour Spanish interests: 2.5

(8)     Being a superpower: 2

As we can see, these preferences are coherent with the solution proposed for international terrorism, which is also based on cooperation and development aid.

Finally, it must be emphasized that Spain?s perceived power, rather than dropping, has actually climbed a full point to 5.9 on a scale of 0 to 10. In May 2003 (3rd wave of the BRIE) it stood at 4.9. It is possible that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the resulting distancing from the US might have strengthened a sense of autonomy and independent decision-making.


As a result of the selfless internationalism discussed above, 51% of those interviewed believe that specifically within the EU, ?for Spain, the essential thing is to make headway with the European Union, even if sometimes it is necessary to lose some power or some benefits to our country?. This contrasts with the 41% who agree that ?for Spain, the essential thing is to defend its interests in Europe, even if there are conflicts with other countries?.

44% believe that ?in the long term, the member states in the Union will cooperate on a larger number of actions and policies (defence, economy, etc.)? while 41% feel that ?there will be groups of states cooperating in certain areas but not in others?. Compared with February, there is a sense of greater optimism, as was mentioned earlier. A few months ago, only 33% subscribed to the scenario of unity.

Federalists (45%) and inter-governmentalists (43%) are evenly divided. It should be kept in mind that the February Barometer reported inter-governmentalists at 76%. Since this latest poll took a slightly different form, we cannot precisely determine if this growth in federalism is real or is the product of different ways of measurement.

Where undeniable consensus exists is in the political design of the Union. Only 21% defend the need for a ?directoire?, while the majority (73%) support equality. Although the wording of the question is slightly different than in February, the results are very similar (12% and 80%). Nonetheless, the new wording reduces the degree of polarization.

Finally, there is a perceptible return to Europe. Asked which country is Spain?s best friend, 28.5% of Spaniards now think it is France. Germany and the US are the next best friends, chosen by approximately 15% of Spaniards. Between February and May a significant change took place in the perception of alliances:

  • The US fell from 42% to 16%.
  • France rose from 12% to 28%, and Germany rose from 5 to 15%.

As for the limits of the EU, the vision is an inclusive one. 62% think that Russia should be a member of the EU and 56% think that Turkey should also be included.


The majority (58%) now believe it is likely that the governments in the EU will manage to reach an agreement to create a European Constitution this year, in 2004, while 36% do not think this will be the case.

Spaniards are now more optimistic than a few months ago. 39% thought this was possible in February. This means there has been an increase of nearly 20%.

Regarding voting intentions in a hypothetical referendum on the European Constitution:

  • 68% are in favour.
  • 3% are against.
  • 6% would spoil their ballot.
  • 8% would abstain.

It should be noted that there was also a 6% increase in the percentage of votes in favour, compared with the last BRIE poll in February of this year, when it stood at 62%.

60% express interest in the European elections in June, compared with 39% who do not.

Compared with February, interest is also higher in this respect, with a 12-point increase from the 48% reported in the 5th BRIE.