Spain, U.K. Most Upbeat About Economy, Pew Survey Finds

People in Spain and the U.K. are the most upbeat about the economic outlook, according to a new Pew Research Center poll of six European nations.

In the survey, 42 percent of Spanish respondents and 38 percent of Britons were optimistic that their country’s economic situation would improve. Poland was the least optimistic, with only 16 percent expecting conditions to get better in the next 12 months.

Only 51 percent of British respondents were favorable about the European Union, the lowest in the poll. At the same time, more U.K. participants held a favorable view than in a 2013 survey. At the same time, 55 percent of Brits say they want to remain in the EU, while 36 percent say they want to leave, according to the survey released on June 2. That compares with an even split in the 2013 poll, when 46 percent wanting to stay and the same percentage wanting to go.

Poland led the list of EU backers, with 72 percent having a favorable view of the 28-nation bloc, the latest poll showed.

“Revival in pro-EU sentiment is closely related to the public’s economic mood,” according to the survey. “Most European publics surveyed still think economic conditions in their countries are lousy. And in many nations they are. But the economic downturn appears to have bottomed out in most places and there are signs of recovery.”

Political parties that were skeptical about European integration received support from different demographic groups, depending on nationality. Also, more than half of survey respondents thought it was a good thing that these parties are part of the political discussion in their nations.

“Backers are predominantly male, but they are younger people in Poland and Italy and older people in the U.K.,” the survey showed. “Their support is strongest among people on the right in France, Germany and the U.K., but their adherents are people on the left in Spain and Italy.”

The Pew poll surveyed 6,028 people in six EU member countries: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the U.K. The poll was conducted from April 7 to May 13, 2015.

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