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Press Release

Adults in Five Largest European Countries Unable to Name Current European Council President

Only majority of Italians able to name current European Commission President

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent Financial Times/Harris Poll in the five largest European countries looks at the upcoming elections in the European Union and in Germany, as well as the power of the Commission President.

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Next year, the EU will choose both a new European Commission President and European Council President. Hopefully the new presidents will be more memorable than the current ones, as both are still fairly unknown as their terms come to an end. Only a majority of Italians (54%) can name Jose Manuel Barroso as the Commission President, compared to 38% of Spaniards, 32% of French adults, 28% of Germans and just 8% of British adults. Even less well-known is Herman Van Rompuy, as just three in ten Italians (30%) and much fewer Spanish (16%), French (15%), German (14%) and British (4%) adults can name him as the European Council President.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among 5,206 adults aged 16-64 in France (1,013), Germany (1,040), Great Britain (1,073) and Spain (1,025), and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,055), between October 8 and 14, 2013. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here)

Some other findings of this survey include:

  • Looking ahead to the forthcoming elections, there is a growing rise of Euro-sceptic candidates. However, more than half of Germans (54%), almost half of Italians (46%) and more than two in five Spaniards (44%) and French (42%) say they are unlikely to vote for such a candidate in either the European parliament elections or local elections. British adults are a little more divided, as two in five (39%) say they are neither likely nor unlikely to vote for a Euro-sceptic candidate, while 36% are unlikely to do so and 25% are likely to do so;
  • When it comes to Angela Merkel's re-election, two-thirds of French adults (67%), three in five British adults (60%) and 56% of Germans all believe her re-election would be good for their country. Almost three in five Italians (58%) and 70% of Spaniards, however, think her re-election would be bad for their country;
  • Moving beyond the individual countries, two-thirds of German (67%) and French (68%) adults and 61% of Britons believe that Angela Merkel's re-election would be good for Europe. Again, over half of Italians (55%) and almost two-thirds of Spaniards (64%) think her re-election would be bad for Europe;
  • When the new European Commission President is elected, over half of Italians (58%) and Germans (54%) believe that this new President should be more powerful than the incumbent, Jose Manuel Barroso. Two-thirds of British adults (67%) believe he should be less powerful than the incumbent. Spaniards are closely divided, with 51% saying less powerful and 49% saying the new President should be more powerful, and French adults are evenly divided, with 50% each saying more and less powerful;
  • Two-thirds of British adults (66%), over half of Spaniards (56%) and half of Germans (51%) say they would have a more positive view of the EU if it had fewer powers than it does now, while over half of Italians (56%) and French (57%) say they would not. Strong majorities in all five countries (between 60% in Spain and 83% in Great Britain) all say the EU governments should be able to restrict rights to benefits for citizens from other EU member states; and,
  • When it comes to Romanians and Bulgarians being given full rights to work in any other EU member state starting in January, 2014, three in five Spaniards (61%) and Italians (63%) approve of this, while 64% of Britons, 63% of French and 58% of Germans disapprove.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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This FT/Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 5,206 adults aged 16-64 in France (1,013), Germany (1,040), Great Britain (1,073), Spain (1,025), and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,055), between October 8 and 14, 2013. Figures for age, sex, education, region and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult populations of the respective countries. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls and the British Polling Council.

The Harris Poll® #77, October 29, 2013
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll®, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client's research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

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SOURCE Harris Interactive

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