Of the country’s political institutions, the Office of the President enjoys the greatest level of trust among citizens, with almost two-thirds of the population (63 %) trusting the president. Compared with the survey conducted one year ago, trust in the president has increased (by 8 %). Two-fifths of the public say they trust cabinet members (40 %), while trust in the Chamber of Deputies is at 36 % and trust in the Senate at 33 %. These figures indicate a modest decline in the proportion of people who trust these institutions. The survey cited here was conducted by the STEM non-profit institute on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 9 to 16 February 2016. Respondents were selected using a quota sampling method, with some 1,014 people taking part in the survey.Over the years since the nineties, STEM has been monitoring the extent to which people trust the different institutions that have an impact on life in the Czech Republic. The following survey looks at public trust in political institutions.Almost two-thirds of respondents in the February STEM survey expressed their trust in the President of the Republic. Two-fifths of the public trust Czech government ministers, with trust in the Chamber of Deputies just marginally lower. The Senate enjoys the trust of one-third of citizens.
Source: STEM, Trends 2016/2, 1014 respondents
Following early elections in October 2013, both the Chamber of Deputies and the government enjoyed the trust of almost half the population. However, the spring of last year had already seen a decline in the relatively high level of trust experienced in the wake of the elections. This is similar to what has happened in the past in the case of former governments and Chambers of Deputies during the course of their terms of office. The current decrease is by no means dramatic, however.This decline in public trust in the government and Chamber of Deputies is mirrored in the Senate’s trust rating, which has also fallen from the high levels recorded in previous surveys.
Source: STEM, Trends 2005-2016
As expected, supporters of the governing parties (ČSSD, ANO and KDU-ČSL) are more likely to trust cabinet members. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that of this group, the survey found that Social Democrats (ČSSD) supporters trusted the government the least. Furthermore, the most significant drop in trust since September 2014 was also recorded among Social Democrats. The question is whether this is an expression of ČSSD supporters’ mistrust in the government as a whole or simply one of dissatisfaction with the Social Democrats’ coalition partners.A roughly two-thirds majority of Civic Democrats (ODS) supporters do not trust current government ministers. Indeed, almost three-quarters of TOP 09 and Communist Party (KSČM) supporters mistrust the government, while the decline in trust in the government since last year was particularly pronounced among Communist Party supporters.
Source: STEM, Trends 9/2014, 3/2015, 2/2016Note: Given their low representation in the group, figures for KDU-ČSL, TOP 09 and ODS supporters are only approximate.
Christian Democrats KDU-ČSL supporters trust the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate the most, while Communist Party supporters trust the two institutions the least. Supporters of the governing coalition parties, the ANO movement and the Social Democrats (ČSSD), also more frequently trust the Chamber of Deputies. In terms of trust in the Senate there are no significant differences among ANO, ČSSD, ODS and TOP 09 supporters.
Source: STEM, Trends9/2014, 3/2015, 2/2016Note: Given their low representation in the group, figures for KDU-ČSL, TOP 09 and ODS supporters are only approximate.
Since Miloš Zeman took office, trust in the president has been fluctuating between 50 and 60 %. President Zeman is therefore considered to be less trustworthy than his predecessor Václav Klaus provided we overlook the final drop in trust in Václav Klaus at the end of his mandate.Moreover, we should take note of the different way of election. Václav Klaus was elected by the Parliament. As far as Miloš Zeman is concerned, he was elected in direct popular election.
Source: STEM, Trends 2003-2016
University graduates are considerably less likely to trust the president (53 %). To complete the picture it is worth mentioning that university graduates are more likely to trust the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate than are those with a lower level of education. However, level of education has no bearing on the level of trust in the government.The president has the highest trust rating among Communist Party (KSČM) supporters whose stance has remained relatively stable over time. There is also an above-average level of trust in the president among Social Democrats (ČSSD) and ANO movement supporters, with trust levels varying over time, however. While trust in the president has declined among ČSSD supporters, there has been a significant rise in trust among ANO supporters since the March 2015 survey. It is interesting to note the changes in terms of trust in the president among Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) supporters, with the high level recorded in September 2014 falling in spring 2015. The current increase in trust still remains below the average level for the population as a whole.Trust in the president remains consistently low among ODS supporters, while TOP 09 voters’ trust in the president has been gradually declining.
Source: STEM, Trends 9/2014, 3/2015, 2/2016
Note: Given their low representation in the group, figures for KDU-ČSL, TOP 09 and ODS supporters are only approximate.Abbreviations
- ČSSD is the ruling Czech Socialist Democratic Party; Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
- ANO is centrist party and one of the junior coalition partners, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe;
- KDU-ČSL is the Christian Democrats and also one of junior coalition partners; Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
- ODS, the liberal-conservative Civic Democratic Party, is a right-wing opposition party; European Conservatives and Reformists Group
- TOP 09, a conservative opposition party; Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
- KSČM Communist Party, Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left