Pessimists and optimists in balance in Slovakia

ACCORDING to a recent survey by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) think tank, 46 percent of Slovaks believe the country is heading in the right direction, while 50 percent of people believe the opposite.

ACCORDING to a recent survey by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) think tank, 46 percent of Slovaks believe the country is heading in the right direction, while 50 percent of people believe the opposite.

"Such a balanced evaluation is very uncommon," said IVO sociologist Zora Bútorová.

Young people with university education holding white-collar jobs prevail in the group of optimists, the daily SME wrote.

In terms of voter preferences, the supporters of the ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union and the former ruling Christian Democrats are among the biggest optimists, while supporters of opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), the Slovak Communist Party and the nationalist Slovak National Party are the biggest skeptics.

Slovak people felt the greatest pessimism eight years ago, before elections in 1998 resulted in the defeat of the ruling HZDS.

Since then, people in Slovakia have been more optimistic than pessimistic only once - in January 1999, when 47 percent believed the nation was heading in the right direction, while 34 percent did not.

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