Six in 10 Europeans are not interested in the European Elections, according to a new poll. The findings come despite a desperate attempt by EU bosses to make the elections seem more “relevant” and “exciting”.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos-Mori, found that out of 9,000 people surveyed from 12 EU countries, 62 percent said they were either “not at all” or “not so much” interested in this month’s elections to the European Parliament, even though they could decide the leadership of the EU for the next five years.
According to Reuters, just 35 percent said they would definitely vote, suggesting voters are increasingly apathetic about the European Union. Turn out at the last EU elections was 43 percent.
The country with the highest level of enthusiasm, Belgium, still polled only just above half (53 percent). Given that the country has compulsory voting, the electorate would be expected to take at least some sort of interest.
The countries with the lowest interest were Britain (27 percent), and Poland, which registered just 20 percent interested in the elections taking place in two weeks’ time.
The survey also polled the approval ratings of various European leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the most recognised and highest rated leader, with 51 percent feeling either “very positive” or “fairly positive” about her.
British Prime Minister David Cameron was second with a 35 percent approval rating, a result that may surprise some given his party’s increasingly Eurosceptic line and pledge to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
The least popular European leader is French President François Hollande, who scored 20 percent positive against 32 percent negative. President Hollande’s administration has been rocked by accusations of incompetence ever since it came to power, and his decision to legislate for gay marriage brought hundreds of thousands of protestors out onto the streets.
One of the most worrying signs for the EU leadership, however, is that 60 percent of people do not know who any of the candidates are for President of the European Commission. Each of the major groupings in the European Parliament has a candidate for the position, and EU leaders have tried to turn the elections into a semi-presidential campaign by getting people to vote for the party of their preferred candidate.
With so few Europeans knowing who the candidates are, however, the strategy appears to have failed spectacularly.