Surveying some surveys: Czechs & refugees, immigrants and Islam

Surveying some surveys: Czechs & refugees, immigrants and Islam

I’ve been spurred on by what I guess we can call some, um, “colourful” comments on Coda Story’s recent animation of my January story on Islamophobia in the Czech Republic to take a look at some recent public opinion data.

“Unsympathetic” towards Arabs

The Czech Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) asked a few questions in their March 2017 survey of ~1,000 Czechs about attitudes towards people from different nationalities/ethnic groups, including Arabs (who I think we can agree in most Czech minds means “Muslims”). They’re right at the bottom.

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The numbers for Arabs look even worse over time….

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Mean scores 1-5, where 1 is “very sympathetic” and 5 is “very unsympathetic.”

No other group has seen anything like this; as the CVVM’s summary report points out, the percentage of those saying they’re “very unsympathetic” (i.e., 5 on the 5-point scale) towards Arabs has gone up by 18 percentage points since 2014. Fortunately (?) that increase seems to have flatlined since 2016.

There’s also a few demographic differences of note in the CVVM’s summary report: 41% of those who declared a good standard of living said they were “very unsympathetic” towards Arabs compared to 55% who declared a poor standard of living; 36% of those with a higher level of education said they were “very unsympathetic” compared to 47% who had an apprenticeship. Still, it’s clear that a lack of sympathy towards Arabs is pretty strong among all parts of the Czech population.

Unfortunately the raw data set isn’t yet publicly available for me to screw around with so I took a look at the raw data from last year’s survey (March 2016) to see if there were any other differences of note that might (or might not) be seen in the 2017 data. There weren’t many:

  • Men had a slightly more negative score on average than women (4.26 compared to 4.15), and more likely to say they were “very unsympathetic” towards Arabs (49% compared to 44%)[both p< 0.1, which means it’s barely worth mentioning IMO but I’ve still done it so deal with it.]
  • Czechs aged 15-29 (41%) were less likely than those 45-59 (50%) or 60+ (50%) to say they were “very unsympathetic” towards Arabs [p< 0.05]

Fear of immigrants

CVVM also released some analysis yesterday from the March 2017 survey on attitudes towards foreigners in general – 64% of Czechs feel that newly-arrived immigrants are a problem for the Czech Republic as a whole. This figure’s shot up since last year, but had dipped from 2015 after a slow rise from 2011.

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CVVM also asked a few specific questions about the impact people think immigrants have on their country, and the results over time here have seen a drastic change. The belief that immigrants contribute to unemployment has dropped by 12% since 2016 (not that surprising in a country with low unemployment) and, as you can see below, the belief that immigrants are a threat to the Czech way of life has increased.

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A reason for those “Refugees not welcome” stickers I’ve seen

The most recent round of the Eurobarometer surveys (November 2016) asked a question of ~1,000 Czechs whether they think their country should help refugees. Czechs were the second most likely, behind Bulgaria, of any EU country to say their country shouldn’t help refugees (23% agree versus 72% disagree; EU average 66% agree versus 28% disagree).

Here, as with the CVVM surveys, there’s a few demographic breakdowns of note that I analyzed using the raw data:

  • Czechs who finished full-time education between the ages of 16 and 19 were less likely to agree the Czech Republic should help refugees (20%) compared to those who finished full-time education at 20 years old or older (31%)[p<0.01]
  • Czechs in rural areas (18%) were less likely than those in towns and suburbs (24%) and cities (28%) to agree the Czech Republic should help refugees [p<0.05]

Again, despite these differences, Czechs across all social divides tend not to think their country should help refugees…

Czech and Islam by the numbers, Parts 1 and 2

Last fall I analyzed European Social Survey (ESS) data from 2014 on Czech attitudes towards Muslims living in their country. Part 1, and Part 2.

If you’ve been following along nothing here will surprise you. Who doesn’t want any Muslims to come live in the Czech Republic (i.e., who’s less likely to want them)? Those who:

  • Feel unsafe after dark
  • Have the least contact with different races or ethnic groups
  • Feel the government treats new immigrants better than them
  • Distrust social/political institutions
  • Feel they have less ability to influence politics and have a say

Conversely, Czechs who had friends of different races and/or ethnic groups were more likely to be supportive of Muslims coming and living in the country.

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