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Confidence in Respective Presidents Ability to Handle Financial Crisis
Five European Countries and U.S. is Mixed
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – October 22, 2008 – As the economic crisis continues to deepen around the world, strong majorities in Italy (81%), Germany (70%), France (68%), the United States (63%), Spain (61%) and Great Britain (59%) believe that there should be increased government regulation of business activities to prevent future financial global market crises. This is one of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among a total of 6,276 adults (aged 16-64) in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the United States and adults (aged 18-64) in Italy between October 1 and 13, 2008.
Leaders of the five largest European countries and the United States are all looked at differently by their countrymen in how they have handled the financial crisis with over half Americans having no confidence in President Bush (56%) down to just one-quarter of Germans (25%) having no confidence in Angela Merkel:
- In the United States, over half of Americans (56%) say they have no confidence in President Bush’s ability to handle the global financial market effectively while one in five (21%) have some confidence. This lack of confidence in President Bush is not limited to the U.S. as at least half of adults in the five European countries (between 50% and 71%) also say they have no confidence in his ability to handle this crisis;
- In Great Britain, a plurality of Britons (43%) say they have no confidence in Gordon Brown’s ability to handle the global financial crisis effectively while one-quarter (24%) say they have some confidence in his ability. One in ten each say they have quite a bit of confidence (11%) in the Prime Minister’s ability and a great deal of confidence (9%);
- French adults are mixed – equal numbers say they have some confidence in Nicolas Sarkozy’s ability to handle the financial crisis (28%) and no confidence in his ability (28%). One-quarter say they have quite a bit of confidence (23%) and one in ten French adults (11%) have a great deal of confidence in President Sarkozy;
- In Germany, Angela Merkel also receives mixed votes of confidence from her countrymen and women. One-quarter (25%) of Germans have no confidence in her ability to handle the global financial crisis and three in ten (29%) have some confidence in her abilities. One-quarter (24%) have quite a bit and 17 percent of Germans say they have a great deal of confidence in her ability;
- Italians lean a bit more negatively toward their Prime minister. Two in five Italians (40%) say they have no confidence Silvio Berlusconi’s ability to handle the global financial market crisis effectively while 16 percent say they have some confidence in his ability. Just over two in five (22%) Italians have quite a bit of confidence while just under that (18%) say they have a great deal of confidence;
- In Spain, only one in ten Spaniards (11%) say they have a great deal of confidence in Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s ability to handle the global financial market crisis effectively and 18 percent say they have quite a bit of confidence in him. Just over one-quarter (28%) of Spaniards have some confidence while 38 percent have no confidence in him; and,
- Looking at the six leaders as a group, confidence in their collective ability is more negative than positive. Less than one in ten adults in all six countries has a great deal of confidence in the ability of the collective group while between 38 percent (in Italy) and 9 percent (in the US) say they have quite a bit of confidence in them. Just under half of adults in Spain (46%) and Germany (46%), two in five Britons (41%) and Americans (39%), just over one-third of French adults (37%) and one-third of Italians (33%) all have some confidence in the leaders’ ability to handle this crisis. Americans are the most pessimistic as one-third (33%) of them say they have no confidence in the group’s ability to handle this crisis followed by three in ten Britons (31%) who say the same.
While the political leaders may be feeling some of the heat from citizens in their respective countries, they are doing better than one other group – bankers. At least three in five adults in Great Britain (76%), the United States (74%), Germany (73%), Spain (67%), Italy (64%) and France (61%) say their opinion of bankers has become more negative as a result of the global financial market crisis.
As the financial and economic crisis continues to move through world, most people do not perceive any of the current leaders measured here – either as a group or individually – as having the ability to effectively lead their country out of the financial mess. In the United States, while he may not be running for President again, the negative attitude and lack of confidence in President Bush is hurting one of the men trying to succeed him – John McCain. Because they share the same party label, even though Senator McCain has distanced himself from the President and his party, voters do not believe he will be able to provide the change that they feel they need. This is why Senator Obama’s lead in the polls has held steady or grown as the financial crisis has dominated the news.
This FT/Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 6,276 adults (aged 16-64) within France (1,075), Germany (1,063), Great Britain (1,046), Spain (1,006) and the United States (1,064), and adults (aged 18-64) in Italy (1,022) between October and 13, 2008. Figures for age, sex, education, region and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult populations of the respective countries. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls and of the British Polling Council.
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