Monday, 13 January 2020

HDZ Not Worried about Falling Behind SDP in Polls

ZAGREB, January 13, 2020 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) officials Darko Horvat, who serves as Economy Minister, and Željko Reiner,a deputy parliament speaker, said on Monday that an opinion poll that gives the opposition Social Democrats (SDP) a lead in popularity ratings in January was the reflection of the outcome of the recent presidential runoff.

"What is happening now is a reflection of the recent election. The outwitting between the SDP and the HDZ will take one or two weeks and then everything will go back to normal, and the HDZ will again be the strongest political option in Croatia," Horvat told the press in his comment on the CRO Demoskop survey about the approval ratings of the ruling HDZ and the SDP in January, when the opposition party took the lead for the first time in four years.

In the second round of the election on 5 January, the incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, nominated by the HDZ for her second term, was defeated by challenger Zoran Milanović, the candidate of the SDP and a few more left wing opposition parties.

Reiner said in his comment that the latest outcome of the approval ratings mirrored the situation in the wake of the elections rather than the real balance of power between the HDZ and the SDP.

"Let's wait for a month or two to see what things will look like," Reiner said.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

More Croats Support European Union Today Than at 2012 Referendum

ZAGREB, December 22, 2019 - A survey shows that more than 40 percent of Croatians have a positive opinion about the European Union, while as many as 81 percent know that Croatia is taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time on January 1, 2020, the Jutarnji List daily reported on Sunday.

The survey, financed by the EU, was carried out by the IPSOS Puls agency between November 27 and December 3. A total of 1,005 Croatians took part in the survey.

If a referendum on accession to the EU were to be held today, 68 percent of the respondents would be in favour and 28 percent would vote against. In 2012, 67 percent of those who went to the polls supported accession to the EU and 33 percent were against it.

As many as 43 percent of the respondents see the EU in a positive light, mostly those in the 18 - 30 age group.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Survey Debunks Belief About Young People Being Intolerant and Radical

ZAGREB, October 22, 2019 - The widely held belief in Croatia that young people are radical and intolerant has turned out to be wrong, the head of the Croatian Helsinki Committee on Human Rights, Ivan Zvonimir Čičak, said on Tuesday while presenting the results of a survey.

The survey, entitled "Tolerance and religiousness of students", debunks stereotypes based on young people's behaviour on social media and shows that incidents that occur in Croatia do not reflect the practice of the majority, Čičak told a round table.

The survey was led by sociologist Ivan Markešić from the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences, who polled 324 students from four faculties of humanities in Zagreb via Facebook. It shows that humanities students are tolerant towards others and those who are different and are opposed to discrimination against minorities.

The students were given a high average grade of 4.07 on a scale of 1 to 5, said Erik Brezovec, an assistant lecturer at Croatian Studies who was involved in the conduct of the survey.

Brezovec noted that there was no difference between religious and non-religious students in their attitude towards those different. The survey also revealed that a majority of those polled do not agree that the Church should play a decisive role in society, he added.

Speakers at the round table highlighted the need for more surveys of this kind, including one on the attitude towards the native Muslim community in Croatia and Muslim migrants, and for expanding the sample to include the entire country.

The round table was organised by the Croatian Helsinki Committee on Human Rights and the Electronic Media Council with the participation of prominent intellectuals, philosophers, theologians, students and dignitaries of religious communities in Croatia.

More human rights news can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Just 17% of Croatians Certain to Vote in European Parliament Elections

ZAGREB, April 26, 2019 - Slightly more than a third of EU citizens say that they are certain to go to the polls in elections for the European Parliament in May, and the share of Croatians who are most likely to go to the polls is a mere 17%, shows a Eurobarometer survey published on Thursday.

Elections for the European Parliament will be held from 23 to 26 May, and the results of the spring Eurobarometer survey, released one month ahead of the elections, show that a large portion of EU citizens are yet to be convinced to go to the polls.

Considering the political context and uncertainty related to Brexit, the survey brings average data for 27 EU member states while data for the United Kingdom are shown separately.

The results show that as many as 61% of Europeans believe EU membership is a good thing, while only 10% believe it is not, which is the best result in more than 25 years. Most EU citizens, or 68%, believe that their country benefits from EU membership while 62% of Croatians think so.

When asked how they would vote if a referendum on leaving the EU were to be held tomorrow, 68% of Europeans said they would vote to stay, as did slightly more than 50% of Croatians.

Compared to the autumn Eurobarometer survey, when 53% of UK citizens were in favour of staying in the EU, now 45% want to stay, while the percentage of those who would support Brexit in case of a second referendum has increased slightly, from 35% to 37%.

Thirty-five percent of EU citizens are certain to vote in the May elections. In Croatia, 17% are most likely to vote and 16% are likely to vote while 50% say they will most likely not go to the polls on May 26. Forty-four percent of Europeans say the main reason for going to the polls is their civic duty to vote.

Most young voters in the EU, or 74%, have a positive opinion of the EU but only one in five is certain to go to the polls.

The turnout in the last elections for the European Parliament in Croatia, in 2014, was 25% and the rate among young people was only 13%.

The Eurobarometer survey shows that the five key topics for Europeans in the election campaign are economy and growth, combating youth unemployment, immigration, combating climate change and protecting the environment and global terrorism.

The survey also shows that one in two Europeans believes that the direction in which the EU is going is wrong.

In early April, a phone survey, so-called Flash Eurobarometer, commissioned by the European Parliament, was conducted as well.

Its results show that 80% of Europeans believe that what brings them together is more important than what separates them, an opinion held also by 76% of Croatian respondents.

Fifty-five percent of Europeans feel hope and confidence when they think of the EU, while one in three respondents covered by the survey feels doubts. In Croatia, 36% of respondents feel hope when thinking about the EU.

As for political engagement in the past month, eight in ten respondents say that they discussed political topics with their family members, friends and acquaintances at least once. Seventy-two percent followed political programmes on TV.

The spring Eurobarometer survey was conducted by the Kantar Public agency in the period from February 19 to March 4 on a representative sample of respondents aged over 15.

In Croatia, 1,007 respondents were interviewed face-to-face, the European Parliament Office in Croatia said.

More news about European elections can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

SDP Disputes Poll Showing Dismal Approval Rating

ZAGREB, December 27, 2018 - The Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Thursday downplayed a survey showing that the Živi Zid party had displaced the SDP as the strongest opposition party in Croatia, claiming that some other surveys painted a completely different picture.

A monthly survey, conducted by Ipsos agency from December 1 to 20 among 982 adult citizens, shows that Živi Zid has overtaken the SDP by 0.1 percentage point.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) remains the strongest party with the support of 28.9 percent of respondents, Živi Zid is on 14.9 percent and the SDP on 14.8 percent. The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percent for the sample and +/- 3.6 percent for the party ratings, Ipsos said.

The results of a survey depend on its methodology, the chairman of the party's main committee, Erik Fabijanić, told Hina, adding that a survey conducted by a Slovenian agency showed completely different results. According to that survey, the SDP is trailing seven percentage points behind the HDZ and is twice as strong as Živi Zid, he said.

"Živi Zid's popularity shouldn't be belittled, but this is not the real situation," he said, adding that the party should work more on its approval rating.

The party secretary-general Nikša Vukas described the Ipsos survey as "yet another hoax" by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. "Plenković's factory of lies continues operating," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Vukas also attacked Ipsos Puls agency, saying that apart from tracking party approval ratings this agency also conducted various surveys for the government and public companies.

"This is obviously a conflict of interest. The latest fake survey released by this agency says that Živi Zid has overtaken the SDP, which was Plenković's and this agency's aim. It was their deal to bring the SDP down," Vukas said.

In addition to prominent party members who have left the party recently, such as eight MPs, two less known officials, both members of the main committee, have also resigned the party's membership in the past week: a Zadar city councillor and a member of the leadership of the SDP's Šibenik-Knin County branch.

More news on the disarray in SDP can be found in our Politics section.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Nearly Half of Croatians Planning Trips Abroad This Winter

ZAGREB, December 10, 2018 - Nearly half of Croatian citizens, or 46 percent, are planning trips abroad this winter, an online survey conducted by Mastercard shows. The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,002 users of banking services in Croatia aged 18 to 55.

It showed that a quarter of the respondents, or 27 percent, would not be travelling abroad this winter, while 28 percent had not decided yet. Of those planning a trip abroad, as many as 60 percent said they intended to visit one of the European cities during the Advent period, while 23 percent would ring in the New Year in one of European destinations near Croatia. Others plan a different kind of trip (18 percent) or a skiing trip (16 percent).

Most of the respondents said their trip would last up to a week, with 61 percent of skiers saying they would stay abroad for five to seven days, while 53 percent of those planning Advent trips would spend one or two days abroad.

The survey revealed that Croatians most often travel to the nearest capitals. In the last year, the most visited destinations were Ljubljana (29 percent), Sarajevo (19 percent), Budapest (19 percent), Vienna (18 percent), Munich (15 percent) and Belgrade (14 percent).

Croatians most often travel around the country, either on business or on holiday. In the last year as many as 63 percent of business and holiday trips were made within Croatia, while a quarter were made to eurozone countries. Only about ten percent of trips were made outside the eurozone.

Most of the respondents, or 82 percent, said they would book their accommodation online, 13 percent would do so via a travel agency, while 16 percent said they did not need to make a booking.

The survey also revealed that most of the respondents would pay for their trip with some form of non-cash payment, while only 28 percent said they would pay cash. Only seven percent said they only used credit cards for payments abroad, while 19 percent said they mostly used credit cards, which is an increase of six percent.

The survey found that 41 percent of the respondents had not made a single trip abroad in the last year and that 27 percent were not planning on travelling outside Croatia this winter either.

For more on Croatia’s travel news, visit our dedicated section.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Survey Shows Croatians Satisfied with Public Administration System Quality?

ZAGREB, November 26, 2018 - Half of Croatians rated the public administration system quality with a grade of 2.8 on a scale from 1 to 5, according to an opinion poll conducted by phone among 1,000 adult respondents throughout Croatia. Services provided by private companies were rated 3.1 on average.

One in ten respondents gave the public administration a failing grade (1), every one in five respondents gave it the lowest passing grade (2), whereas 16% rated the performance of the public administration as very good (4) and excellent (5).

Broken down by the level of education, the most satisfied respondents were those with higher education.

Also, respondents from urban areas, such as Zagreb and its surroundings and from Istria, Primorje and Dalmatia gave higher grades, as opposed to those from Slavonia who gave the lowest grades.

Broken down by the type of public administration body, registries of births, marriages and deaths, hospitals, the Financial Agency (FINA), the Interior Ministry, the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) and the Croatian Pension Insurance Fund (HZMO) were given the highest grades.

At the bottom of the ranking were the Regional Development Ministry, Social Welfare Ministry, the Public Administration Ministry, the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) and the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development.

The survey shows that 94% of those polled have never submitted a complaint, query or suggestion concerning the work of civil servants.

Three quarters of respondents (75%) heard of the possibility of receiving services in electronic form (the e-citizen service). Most of them were below the age of 60 and with a higher education background.

The e-citizen service was given an average rating of 3.8. A quarter of respondents gave it the highest grade of 5.

A majority of respondents said they preferred going directly to a public administration body or department for the information or service they needed rather than visiting their websites or phoning them, according to the survey's results published on the Public Administration Ministry's website.

For more on the bureaucracy in Croatia, click here.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Despite Dismal Polls, SDP Leader Confident in European Elections Success

ZAGREB, November 25, 2018 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardić commented on Saturday on the Crobarometar survey by the IPSOS agency, published on Friday, which shows a drop in voter support for the party to 14.6%, telling reporters that they should not worry about the SDP because it would achieve a European elections success.

Bernardić made the statement while attending a convention of the SDP Women's Forum and after he and Women's Forum representatives released black balloons into the sky to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25.

When asked by reporters if the black balloons also signified the SDP's rating, he said: "I cannot comment on the party's rating at a moment when we are marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Do not worry about the SDP, the SDP works and will have good results in elections for the European Parliament."

"Two surveys were published yesterday and they show diametrically opposed results, which is a bit weird. European elections will be the best test. As for the drop in party ratings, we definitely could have done without MPs crossing the floor to join the parliamentary majority, without those who support the 'For the homeland ready' Ustasha salute, and without frequent attempts at intraparty coups, but rest assured, we will put things in order," he said.

Asked if he was considering stepping down since voter support for his party had dropped to below 15% and the Živi Zid party enjoyed voter support that was only 1% below the SDP's rating, Bernardić said that the party was "entirely focused on elections for the European Parliament and on wage and pension growth in Croatia."

Asked if he expected the party membership to again launch a procedure to replace him, he said, "We mustn't let anything take us by surprise."

According to the latest Crobarometar survey, the HDZ enjoys the support of 29.3% of voters, the SDP enjoys 14.6% support, the Živi Zid 13.5% support, and the MOST party is supported by 6% of the electorate.

SDP Presidency member Ivo Jelušić, Social Democrat member of the European Parliament Biljana Borzan, SDP MP Sabina Glasovac, and former SDP official Željka Antunović, who attended the convention, were also asked to comment on the latest party ratings, and they all expressed concern.

"The party president is referring to a survey which shows that we enjoy 19% voter support but I believe that the SDP can't be satisfied with either 15% or 19%. The SDP wants to assume responsibility to lead the country and those percentages are far from enabling us to move towards a better, more just and socially more sensitive society. If we want to settle for the opposition, that's fine, but I don't think that should be the reason for political activism and that a good part of Croatia, 71% of people, think the country is moving in the wrong direction. We owe them a solution and an alternative, and that requires support much stronger than just 15% or 19%," said Glasovac.

For more on the turmoil in SDP, click here.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Average 25-Year-Old in Croatia Has a Job and Lives with Parents

ZAGREB, November 11, 2018 - The average 25-year-old in Croatia has a job in their profession, sleeps five to seven hours, spends more than six hours on their smartphone daily, engages in sports, obtains information online, is politically neutral, and still lives with their parents, but saves money and plans to start a family, have children and buy an apartment, a survey conducted by the Hendal market research agency shows.

Celebrating 25 years of its work this year, Hendal carried out a survey of the lives, habits and opinions of people who were born in 1993 when it began operating.

Currently, 49,000 25-year-olds live in Croatia. The survey, conducted in October on a sample of 172 people, shows that 43% of them still live with their parents and one in three lives with their partner.

Thirty-eight percent said they are completely independent financially and as many said that they are mainly financially independent.

Two thirds (67%) of those interviewed do not have their own house or apartment, but plan on buying one. For that purpose, 38% save money regularly and as many do so periodically.

Most of them plan to get married and have children. Twenty-eight percent said they will certainly get married and 30% said they will most likely do so. As for children, 70% said they plan on having one or more children.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents are gainfully employed, 26% are still in school, and 16% are jobless and looking for work. Every other respondent said they are satisfied to a certain extent with their present job, as would be expected given that 59% said they are working in their profession and 22% said they are not working in their profession because it's their choice.

Asked if they would move to another country for work, 31% said they might, 30% said they probably would and 16% said they certainly would. Fifty percent said they were considering starting their own business.

When it comes to technology, media and social networks, most 25-year-olds obtain information from news websites. Fifty-seven percent read news online every day, while only 10% read newspapers or magazines; 46% watch television and 36% listen to the radio every day.

As expected, Croatian 25-year-olds cannot do without their smartphones; 43% use them more than six hours daily and 27% use them for three to six hours.

Most of respondents, 69%, communicate with their friends via applications and social networks, while only 28% prefer personal contact when communicating with their close friends.

The survey revealed that young people most often spend their leisure time cooking, rather than clubbing or going to the cinema or theatre.

Seventy-seven percent said that they never take soft drugs, 62% never smoke, 36% drink alcohol from time to time and 42% do so only on special occasions. Forty-three percent do sports, mostly jogging, walking, cycling or exercising at home. Sixty-one percent sleep five to seven hours and 29% eight to nine hours.

A mobile phone is definitely the first thing they would take with them to a desert island (48%), 30% would take food and water, 23% said they would bring along their friend or partner, while 20% said they would take a survival kit.

For more lifestyle stories, click here.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

66% of Croats Say Country Has Benefited from EU Membership

ZAGREB, Oct 18, 2018 - The Eurobarometer, a survey of public opinion throughout the EU, has revealed a marked increase in general public support for EU membership.

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