A poll conducted by YouGov between 4th and 7th November in four EU countries (a little-noticed poll, perhaps because it was conducted for our own site) showed the significant respect enjoyed by Angela Merkel. We asked the question: “How much confidence do you have in the following European leaders to make the necessary decisions to solve the crisis in the Eurozone?”
- Whether in Britain, Germany, France or Denmark, Angela Merkel (average net score, +38%) is preferred over Nicholas Sarkozy (+4%), David Cameron (-1%), and the now-gone pair, George Papandreou (-70%), and Silvio Berlusconi (-75%).
- Just in Britain it was +24% for Merkel, scoring significantly higher than our own Prime Minister on -5%.
- In France, they prefer Merkel (+35%) over Sarkozy (+2%).
- For the commentary by Anthony Wells and full results, see here.
Other parts of the poll show that Britain and Germany oppose (or at least, two weeks ago opposed) spending money on “saving the Eurozone”, while France and Denmark approve. All agreed that the collapse of the Eurozone would be a bad thing for their respective economies, and yet all four countries thought that no attempt should be made to keep Greece in the Eurozone if it can’t pay its debts. That needn’t be considered contradictory, of course: it might be that most people conclude the Eurozone would be strengthened, not weakened, by the exit of failing countries.
The striking thing for me is that Britons expressed more confidence in the German Chancellor than in the British Prime Minister when it comes to making the right decisions to solve a crisis which they overwhelmingly think poses a serious risk to their economy. Had we framed the question differently – had we asked, “do you prefer Cameron or Merkel to look after Britain’s interests?” – we would surely have got a different answer. There are many possible interpretations of this data – I look forward to reading yours in the comments thread!