THE Eurobarometer poll undertakes regular sampling of opinion in all EU member countries. Its a big job. Wheras a typical opinion poll in Britain will interview between 1'000 and 1'500 people to get a reliable result, Eurobarometer has to question around 30'000 respondents in 25 countries and present the results on a country–by–country basis. Sometimes there is a surprising and encouraging unanimity of opinion in the majority of countries but a poll published at the beginning of this week showed remarkable differences in attitudes on religion, homosexuality and drugs. The Dutch led the way in favouring gay marriages with 82 per cent of those questioned in favour, with the Swedes and Danes also strongly supportive; however only 19 per cent of Poles and 15 per cent of Greeks said they thought gay marriages should be allowed. A question designed to test whether EU citizens thought that religion had ”too important a role” in society, showed that 81 per cent of Cypriots, 70 per cent of Maltese and 63 per cent of Italians agreed with the proposition; at the other end of the scale only 20 per cent of Bulgarians and Estonions held that view. Many difference were between ”old” and ”new” EU countries but on the legalisation of cannabis, the usual consensus among North Western Europe countries broke down: 49 per cent of the Dutch, who already have legislation on the issue were in favour against only nine per cent in Sweden.


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