72% of Bulgarians Disapprove of Govt’s Economic Policy

About 72% of the Bulgarians do not approve of the economic policy of the government of the ruling center-right party GERB and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, according to an annual public opinion poll “Transatlantic Trends”.

The poll was conducted for the 11th time by TNS for the German Marshall Fund between June 2 and June 27, 2012, in 15 nations in North America and Europe, including Russia and Turkey.The disapproval rate of the government’s economic policy in Bulgaria is second only to that in Romania (76%).

As in the Transatlantic Trends poll in 2011, 89% of the Bulgarians have indicated that they have been affected by the global economic crisis.

The survey has further found that 88% of the Bulgarians are positive towards the European Union but 47% are pessimistic as to whether EU membership has a positive effect on the Bulgarian economyc.

Of all 15 countries, Bulgaria is the one with the most positive attitude towards Germany (88%), and the second most positive (66%) towards the way German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been dealing with the euro zone crisis.

At the same time, the Bulgarians are also the most positive towards Greece (53%), which is deemed an epitome of the resistance to Germany’s anti-crisis approach.

The opinions of the Bulgarian poll respondents appear to be conflicting further as 63% of them said they approved of the way the EU has been dealing with the economic crisis but at the same time 45% of them believe that the adoption of the common European currency, the euro, by Bulgaria would be a bad thing.

The Transatlantic Trends survey has found that while Bulgaria still has the highest positive attitude towards Russia among all 15 states, with 78% of the respondents saying they are positive towards Russia, the figure declined from 88% in 2011. Slovakia is the second most positive towards Russia, as indicated by 64% of the respondents there.

US President Barack Obama, who faces elections in November 2012, has seen the approval of his international policies in Bulgaria drop from 72% last year to 51% in 2012, compared with 55% in Slovakia, 49% in Poland, 42% in Turkey, and 26% in Russia; Obama’s approval in Western Europe is in the 67-81% range.

At the same time, however, 40% of the Bulgarian respondents said they would vote for Obama if they could, which is the lowest support rate for the incumbent US President in all 15 states save for Poland (35%). Obama enjoys an average support rate of 75% in the 12 EU member states polled, with France and Germany indicating a support rate of 89% and 87% respectively.

Among the EU countries polled in the Transatlantic Trends survey, Bulgarians are also the ones with the most positive attitude towards Israel (47%).

Sweden (56%) and Bulgaria (55%) are two nations from among the 12 EU states surveyed where the majority of the citizens approve of the US-led international intervention in Iraq; Swedes (62%) and Bulgarians (56%) are also found to approve of the international intervention in Afghanistan.

With respect to one of the more “distant” political issues surveyed, 65% of the Bulgarians have responded that they are worried by a “Chinese military threat”.

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