By Ray Fleming

A Guardian/ICM opinion poll across five European countries, including Britain and Spain, has given a very negative result in terms of people's attitudes to the economic crisis and recovery from it and of politicians' honesty and competence. The other three countries represented were France, Germany and Poland; approximately 1'000 people of working age were interviewed online in each country at the beginning of March. Generally speaking opinions did not differ widely although there were some exceptions. For instance, a question about the honesty and integrity of politicians got low marks everywhere but they varied from only 3 percent positive in Poland to 12 per cent, the highest, in Britain.

Asked whether European economies will improve within the next year only an overall 20 per cent thought it possible while 40 per cent thought it unlikely. One reason for this gloomy view may be the very poor impression that people in these five countries have of their politicians: only 6 per cent said they had a “great deal” of trust in their competence while 46 per cent had “not very much” and 32 percent “none at all”! European institutions were better regarded: the euro was strongly supported with Spain expressing 71 per cent support and even Germany giving 59 per cent approval.

Asked whether they expected to be better off in ten year's time, only Poles and Spaniards answered affirmatively overall -- and then only just over half of those questioned.

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