Rajoy shouldn’t fear Spain’s diversity, but its messy economics

When 55.9 percent of Spaniards describe the economic situation of the country as “very bad” and 35.6 percent do so as simply “bad”, a pattern is expected to ensue. The latest national test to scan Spain’s mood leaves no room to doubt about what Spanish people dreadfully worry about. Up to 72.6 percent think the economy has worsened during the past 12 months and 79 percent believe it will stay in the doldrums or fall even dipper in 2013.

Spain’s CIS or centre for sociological investigations surveyed 2,480 citizen between December first and 15 from 237 municipal locations and 49 provinces. The possible maximum error over the results, according to CIS, would be of 2 percentage points. The figures, presented on Friday, sent several messages to Moncloa–the residence of the Spanish president Mariano Rajoy–in more than one front.

Spaniards, a 77 percent, told their politicians that their performance is poor or very poor, and 49 percent found politics are worse today than in 2011.

The number one enemy in Spain is, of course, unemployment: when asked for the three principal problems, 77.1 percent pointed at joblessness as the main headache in Spain, followed by economic troubles with 39.5 percent, and politicians themselves with 29.8 percent. The following category, tellingly enough, was corruption and fraud with 17.2 percent.

Some 47.2 percent said unemployment is the main problem they feel affected by, and 35.8 percent referred to economic troubles. Consequently, 64.5 percent of Spaniards want the country to focus on economic recovery during the next five years–and 16.5 percent want to combat corruption in politics. The former are more hopeful than the latter: while 45.3 percent expect the number of people without a job will decrease by 2017, 49.6 percent believe corruption cases will still grow up.

Spaniards aren’t satisfied either with the nation’s democratic development–43 percent label it as insufficient.

But internal national tensions, for all the Catalan controversy, did not register in this survey. The level of Spaniards worried about it consistently remained below one percent. The picture of a more flexible attitude than that of the People’s Party in office should invite president Rajoy to sit down and reflection: 17.2 percent agreed the central government could let some regions to be more autonomous or even recognise their right to become independent states. Indeed, up to 17.5 percent feel their particular national identity is stronger than the Spanish identity.

Against the Rajoy government’s recent move to impose a centralist view on education matters, the CIS study served a sound reality check: less than 3.5 percent of polled Spaniards spoke of travails when using the Spanish language, yet 35.6 have a different mother tongue–97 percent were born in Spain.

About the Author

Victor Jimenez
London contributor at thecorner.eu, reporting about the City and the Eurozone economies. He regularly writes for Spanish newspaper group Prensa Ibérica--some of his features include shared work with journalists of The Daily Telegraph and the BBC.

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