World

EU Clash Not Reflected in Public Opinion Among Germans, Poles

by Patricia Guadalupe

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Bombastic remarks about Germany and the Second World War made by Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski stirred controversy at last week's European Union summit in Brussels. Kaczynski accused Germany of "incomprehensible crimes" against Poland, saying that Poland would be a far more powerful country today were it not for the "German slaughter" of its population between 1939 and 1945.

Poland has been fighting plans to change EU voting rules to one based on population. If the country had not lost nearly a quarter of its population in the war, Kaczynski argued its influence under such a plan would be far greater. "It was Germans who inflicted unimaginable injury, terrible harm on Poles," Kaczynski said. "We are only demanding one thing; that we get back what was taken from us." Germany immediately decried the comments, with European Parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering -- a German -- saying the comments were "very hurtful." Germany has been one of the EU's most outspoken supporters of Polish membership in the EU.

A recent Gallup Poll conducted with Poles finds little evidence of animosity toward the German government -- overall, 41% say they approve, while 17% disapprove and 41% don't offer an opinion. Negativity toward Germany's leaders is relatively even among both younger and older age groups.

Similarly, a poll conducted in late 2006 and early 2007 found Germans more likely to approve than disapprove of Poland's leadership, although overall they were somewhat more likely to express disapproval -- and somewhat less likely to say they didn't know. Overall, 44% of Germans said they approved of the Polish government, while 30% disapproved and 25% had no opinion. There was no consistent pattern by age group in Germany, although those in the youngest age group (15 to 24 years) were most likely to say they disapproved.

Survey Methods

German results are based on telephone interviews using random digit dialing with a nationally representative sample of 1,221 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted between November 2006 and February 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Polish results are based on telephone interviews using random digit dialing with a nationally representative sample of 992 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in February and May 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/27982/Clash-Reflected-Public-Opinion-Among-Germans-Poles.aspx
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