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The most urgent social problem is unemployment

Institute of Public Affairs conducted a representative survey in November 3 – 9, 2010 on a sample of 1,038 inhabitants of Slovakia aged 18+.

Based on the spontaneous reactions to an open-ended question, two thirds of respondents named the issue of unemployment as the most important (64%). Living standards and social security ranked as second. The problem of health care and the issue of corruption, party cronyism and nepotism shared the third and fourth positions (29 %). Almost one fifth of respondents emphasized the issue of crime (18 %) and the same percentage underlined the need of efficient macroeconomic policies that would be able to decrease public debt and cope with the impact of the global economic crisis. Fifteen percent of respondents saw improvement of the political culture and of the quality of democracy as a main challenge. Eleven percent mentioned the ethnic issues, having in mind primarily the problems of the coexistence between Roma and the majority population. Less than 10% of respondents underlined the issues of education (7 %); housing (5 %); judiciary and rule of law (4 %); transportation (3 %). The rest of the problems were highlighted by 2% or less of respondents.

Table
“Which social problems in Slovakia do you consider the most urgent?” (%)

 

XI.2006

II. 2010

XI.2010

Unemployment

53

66

64

Living standards and social security

79

51

53

Health care

33

24

29

Corruption, party cronyism and nepotism in public life

24

35

29

Economic policy

10

24

18

Crime

22

20

18

Politics, quality of democracy

10

19

15

Ethnic problems

5

12

11

Education

10

8

7

Housing

6

4

5

Judiciary, rule of law

6

5

4

Transportation

-

4

3

Environment

3

1

2

Issues of the elderly population

-

-

2

Regional and local problems

3

1

2

Xenophobia, racism, extremism

4

2

2

Drug abuse, alcoholism

2

3

2

Public administration, bureaucracy

4

2

1

Foreign policy

1

0

1

Culture

-

-

1

Note: This was an open-ended question. Respondents could give three answers, which is why the total sum in columns exceeds 100%.
Source: Institute for Public Affairs.

The comparison of recent findings with those from the end of Fico’s term reveals four remarkable trends. The urgency of the issue of corruption decreased (from 35% in February 2010 to 29% in November 2010). Similarly the public became less worried about the lack of efficient macroeconomic policy (decline from 24% to 18%), as well as about the deterioration of political culture and quality of democracy (decline from 19% to 15%). On the other hand, people became more critical of the state of health care (increase from 24% to 29%).

In a longer time perspective, i.e., in comparison with the atmosphere in November 2006 during the first months of Fico’s government, the problem of unemployment came more to the forefront (53% in 2006 and 64% in 2010), while the issue of living standards and social security lost some of its urgency (79% in 2006 and 53% in 2010). The public became more aware of the need of efficient macroeconomic policy and of the necessity of combating corruption, party cronyism and nepotism in public life. Another important trend was the increased urgency of the ethnic issues, especially of the coexistence between Roma minority and Non-Roma majority.

Download: Tlačová správa - press release in Slovak [PDF]



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