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Study of the Portuguese Society (November 2018)

Study of the Portuguese Society- Trust in government, institutions and public services, political ideology and intention to vote in Portugal (November 2018)

The Observatory of Portuguese Society of CATÓLICA-LISBON completed in November 2018 its last study that aimed to assess some variables and characteristics shared by members of the Portuguese Society.

This study, which was run next to 968 participants, assessed levels of political trust and trust in government, trust in institutions, assessment of public services, political ideology and intention to vote, changes in consumer habits and saving habits, economic confidence, income and savings, as well as general levels of happiness and satisfaction with life, in members of the Portuguese society.

In the present study, the level of satisfaction with the way Portugal is governed is moderate-low (M = 4.81, SD = 2.01) and decreased 4.6% from November 2017 to November 2018. The optimism on how Portugal is governed improve in the next 10 years is moderate (M = 4.97, SD = 2.10) and decreased 7.3% from November 2017 to November 2018.

By comparing the results obtained between March 2016 and November 2018, despite the mean value of satisfaction with issues related to natural phenomena have had a sharp decrease of 23.9% between March 2016 and November 2017 (M = 4.98, SD = 1.97 in 2016 and M = 3.79, SD = 2.03 in 2017), the level of satisfaction with this area grew 18.0% between November 2017 and November 2018 (M = 3.79, SD = 2.03 in 2017 and M = 4.48, SD = 2.07 in 2018). By other side, the mean value of satisfaction with infrastructures maintenance increased by 5.0% between March 2016 and November 2017 (M = 4.48, SD = 1.99 in 2016 and M = 4.70, SD = 1.94 in 2017) but decreased 13.5% between November 2017 and November 2018 (M = 4.70, SD = 1.94 in 2017 and M = 4.07, SD = 2.00 in 2018). It should be noted that the indicators measured in November 2017 were reported after a season of high temperatures and fires in Portugal while the values measured in November 2018 followed a period in which some infrastructures in Portugal were affected/ damaged.

The institution of the Portuguese society in which the participants most trust is the Presidency of the Republic (M = 6.32, SD = 2.30). After the sudden growth of 46.1% in the mean value of confidence in the Presidency of the Republic between March 2016 and November 2017, the satisfaction with this institution continues high in November 2018. However, there is a decrease of 4.9% between November 2017 and November 2018 (M = 6.64, SD = 2.23 in 2017 and M = 6.32, SD = 2.30 in 2018).

Concerning political ideology, 37.1% of the participants report having a more left-wing orientation, 33.9% have a central orientation, and 29.0% have a more right-wing orientation. Regarding the position of a set of political parties on the left-right political spectrum, on average, participants positioned PSD (M = 7.12, SD = 2.21), CDS-PP (M = 6.77, SD = 2.63), and Aliança (M = 5.65; DP = 2.24) more on the right-wing, and positioned BE (M = 1.73; DP = 1.87), PCP (M = 2.16; DP = 2.37), PEV (M = 3.14; DP = 2.03), PAN (M = 3.60; DP = 2.02), and PS (M = 4.31; DP = 2.35) more on the left-wing. Additionally, 40.3% of the participants do not have any preference for a political party, 47.5% have some preference, and only 12.2% have strong preference for a particular party.

Regarding the intention to vote in the elections of 2019, 55.0% of the participants are sure that they will vote in the election of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in May 2019, 10.6% will not vote, and 34.4% do not know if they will vote. Moreover, 69.8% of the participants are sure that they will vote in the election for the assembly of the Republic (legislative elections) in September/ October 2019, 8.0% will not vote, and 22.2% do not know if they will vote. About the perception of the national vote in the upcoming legislative elections, considering the average percentage of votes expected for each party, the results highlight PS (M = 31.50, SD = 12.97) and PSD (M = 26.63; DP = 12.08) with the highest expected percentage of votes.

The results on consumption and saving habits indicate that, in general, participants are very interested in saving and, in general, they have not changed their consumption habits compared to 2017. Concerning economic confidence, a higher proportion of participants assessed Portugal’s current economic conditions as weak or very weak, compared to the proportion that assessed as good or excellent. Similarly, a slightly greater proportion of participants report that the economic conditions in Portugal will get worse, compared to the ones who think they will improve. Globally, participants assess the economic conditions in Portugal more negatively than positively, particularly regarding Portugal’s current economic conditions.

Concerning general indicators of happiness and satisfaction with life, measured transversally between October 2015 and November 2018, results indicate a positive and satisfactory level of global happiness and satisfaction with life in members of the Portuguese Society. However, there is a stagnation in the evolution of these indicators.

This is a CATÓLICA-LISBON contribution to the civil and academic Society.

Unfortunately, the studies are only available in Portuguese. Please contact us in case you need some more detailed information (E-mail: osp.cea@ucp.pt and Tel.: (+351) 217 206 241).

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