Transatlantic Trends: Leaders Survey
This report presents the first systematic survey of the views of leaders in the European Union and the United States on the state, nature and challenges of transatlantic relations. This study stems from the experience of Transatlantic Trends, which has surveyed the general public in Europe and the United States since 2002 and of the European Elite Survey which has surveyed Members of the European Parliament and top level officials of the Commission and the Council since 2006. This year, for the first time, this survey included American leaders as well in order to offer a systematic comparative analysis of the views of European and American leaders, and to allow for a comparison with the views of the public, as gauged by the 2010 Transatlantic Trends survey.
Leadership surveys on foreign and security issues have been conducted before, both in Europe and the United States. However, this is the first time, since the 1960s, in which leaders and the public on both sides of the Atlantic have been surveyed, using the same questions. This project is supported by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo and it constitutes a further step in a more systematic understanding of the transatlantic relations, and the undercurrent attitudinal similarities and differences among Europeans and Americans.
Defining and operationalizing the opinion leaders who are most relevant in the transatlantic dialogue was not an easy task. The authors of this report decided to survey people in Brussels and Washington, DC from a wide variety of backgrounds—largely falling into the categories of political, administrative, social, and economic leaders. As for politicians, senior level Congressional staff and senior level office-holders in the Executive Branch were interviewed in the United States, while in Europe, members of the European parliament from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as high level officials of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union were included in the sample. With regard to economic leaders, representatives of businesses and labor unions were interviewed. Moreover, the sample also included a segment containing journalists, key staff from non-governmental groups such as think tanks, trade associations and nongovernmental organizations such as the World Bank.
The survey’s findings are based on a total of 519 interviews of transatlantic opinion leaders, 286 in Washington, DC and 233 in Brussels. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in the United States and by TNS Opinion in Europe. In both the United States and Europe, data were collected via telephone and via online administration. The fieldwork in the United States took place between June 17-September 13, 2010 and from June 21-October 1, 2010 in Europe.
The results of this survey are compared to the findings of Transatlantic Trends 2010. Transatlantic Trends is a comprehensive annual survey of American and European public opinion. Polling was conducted by TNS Opinion between June 1 and June 29, 2010, in the United States and 12 European countries: Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom with a sample size of approximately 1,000 respondents per country. The Transatlantic Trends survey is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the Compagnia di San Paolo, with additional support from the Fundação Luso-Americana, Fundación BBVA, and the Communitas Foundation.
The report presents the key findings from the survey. For results based on the national samples of the general public in each of the 13 countries surveyed, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus three percentage points. For results based on the total European sample, the margin of error is plus or minus one percentage point. In addition to sampling errors, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can also introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls. For the full topline dataset, detailed methodology, and other related materials, please refer to www.transatlantictrends.org.