Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 2

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 2

As promised to my legions of readers, some more stats and fancy graphs breaking down what Czechs think about Islam using European Social Survey data (2014).

(Lack of) trust

Respondents were asked three questions about how much they trusted the people around them, screenshotted here to save me from having to explain it.

trust-q

People who said they didn’t want any Muslims to be allowed to come live in Czechia scored lower on average on all three questions – in other words, they were less trusting in general and more cynical of peoples’ intentions than Czechs who wanted to let Muslims to come live in the country.

image-27
“Social trust” might not be the best descriptor here, but you know what I mean.

This distrust extends to institutions – across all seven ‘trust in institutions’ questions (the same 0 – 10 scale, where 0 is ‘no trust at all’ and 10 is ‘complete trust’), people who didn’t want any Muslims were significantly less trusting of every social and political institution they were asked about.

image-25

“If I thought I’d make a difference..”

Respondents were also asked a series of question about political efficacy, the belief that one has the ability to influence politics and political affairs.  Again, questions screenshotted here.

eff-q1

eff-q2

You can probably guess what the trend is here before you see it – people who don’t want Muslims in Czechia feel they have less ability to influence politics and have a say (i.e., they feel less efficacious, for anyone who actually likes that word).

image-26

Čas na party?

The most interesting of these breakdowns, in my opinion…

For reference, the popular vote percentages and seat breakdowns from the last Czech parliamentary election in October 2013 (descriptors of each party are in the graph itself):

  • CSSD: 20.5%, 50 seats
  • ANO 2011: 18.7%, 47 seats
  • KSCM: 14.9%, 33 seats
  • TOP 09: 12.0%, 26 seats
  • ODS: 7.7%, 16 seats
  • Usvit: 6.9%, 14 seats
  • KDU-CSL: 6.8%, 14 seats

The findings? Supporters of the (now split up) far right populist/Eurosceptic movement under Tomio Okamura were the least in favour of allowing Muslims to come and live in Czechia (71% ‘no Muslims’), which isn’t a shock for a Front National-aligned movement.

But it’s who they’re followed by that’s most interesting to me. Supporters of the two most left-wing parties in Czechia – the Communists (63%) and the Social Democrats (59%), the largest party in the Czech parliament – were more likely than all but the far-right to be opposed to letting Muslims come and live in the country.

image-28

As a side note, these are also the parties that tend to be the most pro-Russian. Hmm.

Observations, qualifications, etc.

There’s a lot more that I can dig into here re: the predictors of not wanting Muslims in Czechia. Some of it, as I discussed a few weeks ago, is likely down to age (e.g., supporters of the Communists tend to be older than supporters of other parties). Some of it could be regional, some could be related to education or income, and some still could be related to factors I need to plug into a logistic regression model…

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 1

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 1

Today I took a look at some numbers from my favourite data source right now (maybe a bit odd for a Canadian) – the most recent wave of the European Social Survey (ESS 2014).

I want to know more about what people think about Muslims in central and eastern Europe, and why. Fortunately there’s one question in the ESS that specifically asks people what they think of Muslims:

q-re-immigrants

 

Only 44% of Czechs feel that a few, some or many Muslims should be allowed to come and live in their country – the lowest among all countries surveyed. I want to try and shed a bit more light on why this is the case and help us non-central/eastern-Europeans stop blaming these kinds of attitudes on some simplistic kind of eastern backwardness.

I’ve given minimal interpretation/commentary – yours are welcome.

 

Unsafe after dark

Czechs who feel unsafe after dark tend to be the least likely to want to allow Muslims to come and live in Czechia (yes, I’m finally calling it that).

image-23
For reference on the sizes of these groups: most Czechs felt safe (63.4%) or very safe (12.3%), while one-quarter felt unsafe (21.4% ‘unsafe’; 3.0% ‘very unsafe’)

Interestingly, a related question – whether you or a family member has been a victim of a theft or robbery in the last five years – showed no relationship at all.

Time to get to know your neighbours?

While Czechs who have at least some contact with a member of a different race or ethnic group tend to be pretty evenly split, Czechs who have the least contact with different races or ethnic groups tend to be much less likely to want to allow Muslims into the country.

image-22
‘Never’: 20.5% of all Czech respondents / ‘Less than once a month’: 16.0%

I touched on this in a post a few months ago on attitudes towards IDPs in Ukraine; the more contact people had with IDPs, the more positive their attitudes were towards them. The same goes for attitudes towards Muslims in the US and towards immigrants in general in the UK – familiarity really doesn’t breed contempt.

…and time to make some more friends?

People who had friends of different races and/or ethnic groups were more likely to be supportive of Muslims coming and living in Czechia compared to those who had none (no friends from a different race/ethnic group, not no friends at all [which the ESS does actually ask about]).

image-20
Most respondents (71.8%) weren’t friends with anyone from a different race/ethnic group (in fairness, not overly surprising in a country ~95% Czech). Still, 24.3% were friends with “a few” and 3.9% friends with “several.”

Again, this seems at least partly about familiarity not breeding contempt.

Immigants, I knew it was them!

Czechs who think the government treats new immigrants better than them are much more likely to feel no Muslims should be allowed to come and live in Czechia.

image-21

Overall numbers: 7.2% ‘much better,’ 27.0% ‘a little better,’ 52.6% ‘the same,’ 12.1% ‘a little worse’ and 1.2% ‘much worse’ (i.e., most Czechs don’t think immigrants get treated better – but a lot do)

Part 2 will come in a day or two with a look at some stats on political efficacy, (lack of) trust in governments and people and party affiliation.

Again, interpretations and such welcome.

Czech Republic, Muslims and the left, Part 1 ½

Czech Republic, Muslims and the left, Part 1 ½

This is partly a sequel and a reboot of my previous post where I trudged through European Social Survey data on left/right splits on Czech attitudes towards Muslims and, like Sarah Conner in the first and best Terminator, generally looked confused as I tried to figure out what exactly the hell was going on.

To recap: less than half (44%) of Czechs surveyed in the 2014 ESS said they thought Muslims should be allowed to come and live in the Czech Republic (30% “a few”; 13% “some”; 2% many). Big differences by age and left/right self-identification. Confused me. Has caused me to spend more time this week with SPSS than I wanted.

Who’s left, who’s right?

Here’s the left-right scale from the ESS:

2016-09-19-19-41-40I’ve divided the scale up into five categories for this analysis:

  • Far left: 00 and 01
  • Left: 02, 03 and 04
  • Centre: 05
  • Right: 06, 07, 08
  • Far right: 09 and 10

There’s a pretty obvious pattern by age when it comes to left-right self-identification in the Czech Republic, with older respondents more likely to place themselves on the left – a pattern I wouldn’t be surprised to see in other former Eastern Bloc countries.

image-3

These numbers are worth keeping in mind when you’re looking at the graphs below, since some of the groupings here (e.g., self-identified far right 65+ Czechs) are clearly just a handful of people.

The left, the right and everything in between

Remember, less than half (44%) of Czechs surveyed in the 2014 ESS said they thought Muslims should be allowed to come and live in the Czech Republic.

Take a look at the graph below, because I make a lot of graphs. These are the numbers that threw me for a loop when I first saw them – people who identify as far left are the least supportive of Muslims coming to the Czech Republic? And the right and far-right are most supportive? Well, survey says.

image-4

Numbers don’t lie

…but they don’t always tell the whole story.

Remember from the table above that older Czechs are more likely to self-identify as far left/left. This also shows up when you look at the average age of each point on the left-right scale.

image-5

But is it about being on the left or being older? To me, it does look like it’s at least partly about age. Older Czechs, without looking at left/right self-identification at all, are less likely to be supportive of Muslims coming to their country than younger respondents.

image-6

But if it was all about age I’d expect to see a few different numbers and trends than I’m seeing here. The overall level of support is pretty similar among 15-19s, 20-24, 25-29s, 30-34s, and 40-44s (I don’t know and can’t explain what is going on with the 35-39s there). If this was all about young people being more socially liberal than their parents, etc., I wouldn’t expect figures for Czechs under twenty to be the same as Czechs as old as Jaromir Jagr.  Coupled with the fact that fewer than one in five Czechs from 15 to 19 placed themselves anywhere on the left of the scale, it makes me think there’s more going on here than some kind of cohort effect.

As evidence of this, here’s my final, behemoth graph.

While some of the sample sizes are a bit small, I think it’s clear from this that people who’ve placed themselves on the far left are less likely to be supportive of Muslims coming to live in their country, while the opposite is the case for people who’ve placed themselves on the far right. There’s even some difference between the closer-to-the-middle left and right for most age groups.

image-2
Yes, the numbers are small. Open it in a new window.

I welcome any comments, questions or other interpretations of this data, though comments on the quality of my graph-making will be haughtily rebuffed.

Conclusions, questions, caveats an’ a’ that

My takeaway? Anyone worried about the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in the Czech Republic better look at more than just the usual suspects on the far right.

Yes, some of the numbers I’ve spat out here are about age/cohort effects like we see in other western countries, including my own, but this to me it looks to be more about being on the left/right than anything else. With Czech legislative elections coming within the next year and presidential elections in 2018, it’d be good to know a wee bit more about what exactly the deal is here.

But is this just a Czech thing? Is it related to current social democrat and anti-Muslim firebrand Miloš Zeman being in charge? Would we see this sort of thing if we looked at data from other central European and/or post-communist countries? Would we even see it if we looked at the Czech Republic with 2016 data? Would we see the same thing with different questions about Muslims, refugees, etc.? Could this be used as a wedge issue across ideological lines in a future Czechxit referendum? And so on.

The caveats from my last piece apply here – fieldwork from Nov 2014 to Feb 2015, other variables I haven’t even mentioned (like region), the fact I’m not Czech enough to immediately make sense of all this, a few small sample sizes, etc.

Czech Republic, Muslims and…the left?

Czech Republic, Muslims and…the left?

Earlier this month the European Values Think-Tank in Prague (or Think-tank Evropské hodnoty for the more Slavistically-oriented among you) released findings from a survey on the impact of Russian disinformation operations in the Czech Republic. It’s a worth a read, as is their paper on how and why Russia’s taken such an interest in influencing Czech affairs and why us non-Czechs should actually care.

But what grabbed my attention was a survey question on perceived threats to the Czech Republic (page 8 for anyone following along at home):

Which threats are currently the most serious for our country? List three threats at most, please.

The top three most commonly-mentioned threats?

  1. Refugees: 50%
  2. Terrorism, attacks, assassinations: 42%
  3. Islamic fundamentalism: 21%

Keep in mind the Czech Republic is a country that might have as many as 3,500 Muslims out of a population of more than 10 million (i.e., 0.03% of the population) where a grand total of 134 Syrians applied for asylum last year, according to the UNHCR. It’s a country where you’re more likely to see some dumbass fake ISIS attack/“protest” from a gaggle of far-right clowns than, say, an actual Muslim.

Czeching the data (yes, a “Czech” pun)

To try and understand more about what Czechs think of Muslims, I looked at data from the 2014 version of the European Social Survey, where they asked more than 2,100 Czechs:

please tell me to what extent you think the Czech Republic should allow Muslims from other countries to come and live in the Czech Republic? 

  • Allow many to come and live here
  • Allow some
  • Allow a few
  • Allow none

More than half – 56% – said that no Muslims should be allowed to come and live in the Czech Republic. Less than a third (30%) said “a few” Muslims should be allowed, 13% said “some” and 2% said “many,” for a total of 44%.

  • Allow many to come and live here: 2%
  • Allow some: 13%
  • Allow a few: 30%
  • Allow none: 56%

This isn’t surprising, especially given the data from the European Values Think-Tank and what we already know about Czech politics and President Miloš Zeman’s not-exactly-subtle hostility to Islam and refugees.

Left foot forward?

But Czechs on the left seem to be the least willing to welcome Muslims.

Czechs who told ESS interviewers they voted for the Communists (KSČM) in the last election were more likely than voters of all other parties – 64% versus 52% – to say that no Muslims should be allowed to live in the Czech Republic.

Looking at the parties individually, only supporters of Tomio Okamura’s Front National-linked far right movement were more likely (71%) to say this. Even supporters of the governing centre-left social democrats (ČSSD) were more likely (59%) than members of other centrist/right-wing parties to say that no Muslims should be allowed to live in the Czech Republic.

The ESS also asks people to rank themselves on an 11-point left-right scale (below), which is where things get even more interesting.

2016-09-19-19-41-40

The mean left-right score for those wanting to allow “many,” “some” or “a few” Muslims (5.43) is higher – meaning further to the right – than those who don’t think any Muslims should be allowed in (4.73).

This still boggled my mind so I broke the left-right scale up into a few different permutations to see if this relationship held up:

  • 3 categories
    • Break the left 4 into a ‘left’ category, the middle as its own mushy ‘centre’ and the final four as a ‘right’ category.
      • Left: 63% allow no Muslims
      • Centre: 61%
      • Right: 46%
  • 5 categories
    • Break the left 2 into a ‘far left’ category, the next three as ‘left’, the middle as its own mushy ‘centre,’ the next three as ‘right’ and the final two as a ‘far right’ category.
      • Far left: 77% allow no Muslims
      • Left: 59%
      • Centre: 61%
      • Right: 48%
      • Far right 41%
  • 5 categories, a bit different
    • Break the left one into a ‘far left’ category, the next four as ‘left’, the middle as its own mushy ‘centre,’ the next four as ‘right’ and the final one as a ‘far right’ category. I wanted to try this to isolate that far left/right to each endpoint of the scale.
      • Far left: 81% allow no Muslims
      • Left: 60%
      • Centre: 61%
      • Right: 47%
      • Far right 42%

This totally blows my mind – it looks like the more one identifies to the left, the more likely they are to not support Muslims being allowed to come and live in the Czech Republic.

What’s my age again?

I’ve lost my mind in enough SPSS data tables to know that when a totally counterintuitive finding like this pops up there’s often something else that actually explains it.

Is it age? It could be, given that there’s also a clear relationship between age and (lack of) support for allowing Muslims to come and live in the Czech Republic (case in point: many/some/few Muslims? Mean age 43.1 years. No Muslims? Mean age 46.3 years).

I thought this might be the case, especially when I realized that KSČM supporters tended to be much older than supporters of other parties (a mean age of 60.8 years compared to 47.8 years for all other parties combined). This relationship also holds true for the left-right scale – the average age of those identifying on the left was higher than those identifying themselves on the right:

  • 3 categories
    • Break the left 4 into a ‘left’ category, the middle as its own mushy ‘centre’ and the final four as a ‘right’ category.
      • Left: mean age 52.2 years
      • Centre: 44 years
      • Right: 41 years
  • 5 categories
    • Break the left 2 into a ‘far left’ category, the next three as ‘left’, the middle as its own mushy ‘centre,’ the next three as ‘right’ and the final two as a ‘far right’ category.
      • Far left: mean age 54 years
      • Left: 51.7 years
      • Centre: 44 years
      • Right: 41.6 years
      • Far right 38.4 years
  • 5 categories, a bit different
    • Break the left one into a ‘far left’ category, the next four as ‘left’, the middle as its own mushy ‘centre,’ the next four as ‘right’ and the final one as a ‘far right’ category. I wanted to try this to isolate that far left/right to each endpoint of the scale.
      • Far left: mean age 56.1 years
      • Left: 51.6 years
      • Centre: 44 years
      • Right: 41.1 years
      • Far right 39.7 years

So which is it?

I ran a quick logistic regression analysis to see whether age or placement on the left-right scale was a more accurate predictor of one’s support for allowing “many,” “some” or “a few” Muslims into the Czech Republic.

In short, I found that the placement on the left-right scale (that is, identifying more to the right) was a slightly stronger predictor of supporting allowing Muslims into the Czech Republic than age (that is, being younger).

In other words, it’s more about being on the left than being old.

Caveats:

  • I ran this over a few hours in a basement in a pair of ill-fitting sweatpants, so do hold it up to that standard.
  • This data is from fieldwork done between November 2014 and February 2015 – before the refugee crisis really turned sour.
  • There are many, many other variables I need to look at before drawing some sort of iron-clad conclusion on this. Some I’ve looked at but not ranted on about here (e.g., gender, region, socio-economic status, etc.).
  • I’m no expert on Czech politics, history, society and/or political culture, which is why I’ve really drawn no conclusion here other than “shit, this is interesting!”
  • If you’ve read this far, ask me about your prize.