Poll: Tensions seem high between Czechs and foreigners

The refugee crisis and terrorism are seen to be driving the growth in tension

Two-thirds of Czechs believe there is strong tension between Czechs and foreigners, which is virtually the same as a year ago, according to a new poll by the Stem agency. It had been at just 50 percent in 2013. The recent high response reflects concerns over the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks, according to Stem.

“The existence of tensions between social groups is inherent to human societies and is a prerequisite for their development. In certain times and situations, these tensions become sharper and can result in the conflict. The catalyst can be economic and political changes in society, as well as developments in the broader European scale. In the March 2016 survey we could see how Czech citizens are more sensitive than previously to perceived tension between Czechs and foreigners in our country. The current 2017 research reaffirms this finding,” the Stem said in its report.

Some 59 percent think there is tension between management and employees. This has been relatively stable over the past few years, except in 2011 when it was substantially higher, at 68 percent. The economic crisis was still showing its effects then. Before 2016, tension between management and employees was seen as higher than between Czechs and foreigners.

Slightly fewer, 57 percent, say there is tension between rich and poor, while 56 percent feel there is tension between people of different political points of view.

Only a minority of Czechs, 39 percent, saw tension between young and old. Some 29 percent of people saw tension between city folk and rural people.

The most significant trend has been in perceived tension between rich and poor. Since 2011, when Stem started to monitor this area, it has been gradually decreasing from 68 percent seeing tension to 57 percent in 2017. Among people from households that are financially insecure, however, this share seeing tension remains high. Among people who feel economically secure, the results were more ambiguous, and the perceived tension was not considered significant.

The poll was conducted on a representative sample of the Czech population older than 18 years from Feb. 27 to March 6, 2017. Questions answered by 1,042 respondents.

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