Source: ECFR Survey 2021

  1. ‘In America We Trust’ is the smallest tribe, comprising 9 per cent of all respondents. Its members believe that America is strong and working, whereas the EU is broken and declining. One is most likely to run into members of this tribe in Italy, Poland, and France, where 22 per cent, 12 per cent, and 12 per cent of respondents hold this view respectively. Members of this tribe are likely aware of the problems America is experiencing but know that, historically, the US has always bounced back after a crisis. They may have taken to heart Otto von Bismarck’s remark that “God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America”; in any case, they believe that America is better positioned than Europe to preserve its influence in the world. Members of this tribe tend to vote for right-wing populist parties. In Italy, they tend to vote for the League, the Brothers of Italy, or Forza Italia; in France, they tend to vote for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally or other right-wing parties and candidates. In the Netherlands, the majority of this tribe is formed of those who vote for the Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders or the populist, right-wing Forum for Democracy. In Sweden, most of them vote for the Sweden Democrats. In Denmark, they mostly choose the New Right or the Danish People’s Party.
  2. The second-smallest tribe is ‘In the West We Trust’, comprising 20 per cent of respondents. This tribe is composed of people who say that both the US and the EU are thriving. They are most likely to be convinced of the superiority of the Western political and economic system, and somewhat less likely than other tribes to fear that China will be in the geopolitical driving seat in the future (although, even among this group, 53 per cent think it is likely that China will surpass the US in the next ten years). If one wants to meet these people, the best place to go is central Europe: they constitute almost half of all voters in Poland and Hungary. This tribe is most likely to vote for La République En Marche! or Les Républicains in France; the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) in Germany; the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) or the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in the Netherlands; the Social Democrats or the conservative-liberal Venstre in Denmark; the Socialists (PSOE), Vox, or the People’s Party in Spain; the Social Democratic Party, the Centre Party, or the Moderates in Sweden; Fidesz in Hungary; Law and Justice in Poland; and the Socialist Party or the Social Democratic Party in Portugal. These believers in the current power of the West make up the youngest tribe across all surveyed countries (58 per cent of them are under 50). However, their distribution across age groups varies between countries. For example, in Hungary, one is as likely to find members of this tribe among those aged 70 or above as among those aged 18-29.
  3. In Decline We Trust’ comprises 29 per cent of respondents, making them the second-largest group. Members of this tribe believe that both Europe and America are broken and declining. They are most likely to believe that China will overtake the West as a shaper of international politics (68 per cent believe that China is likely to be more powerful than the US within ten years, and 32 per cent say the same about Russia). These geopolitical fatalists make up the largest tribe in four countries: France (43 per cent of respondents), Great Britain (42 per cent), Spain (38 per cent), and Italy (36 per cent). They tend to be older, with 53 per cent of them over the age of 50. Members of this group are quite widely spread in their voting behaviour, but are more likely to support National Rally or Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise in France; Alternative for Germany or the Left in Germany; the New Right, the Conservative People’s Party, or the Social Democrats in Denmark; Fidesz in Hungary; the PVV, the VVD, or the Socialist Party in the Netherlands; and the Sweden Democrats or the Moderates in Sweden. This tribe also counts among its members many more disengaged or disillusioned citizens, such as those who do not know who they will vote for (particularly in France, Italy, and Portugal) or who say that they will abstain from voting (especially in Spain and Poland). Across all surveyed countries, this tribe accounts for 36 per cent of voters who are undecided or plan not to vote in the next election, and for 36 per cent of those who intend to vote for a populist party – a larger share than that of any other tribe in both cases.
  4. The biggest tribe is ‘In Europe We Trust’, comprising 35 per cent of all respondents. It is made up of people who think that, politically, Europe is healthy while the US is broken. Its members mostly come from more prosperous countries, and it is the largest tribe in Denmark (where it makes up 60 per cent of respondents), Germany (53 per cent), Sweden (51 per cent), the Netherlands (50 per cent), and Portugal (37 per cent). This tribe tends to be better educated than average, and its members are most likely to vote for the CDU/CSU, the Greens, or the Social Democrats in Germany; La République En Marche!, Les Républicains, or the Greens in France; the Democratic Party, the Five Star Movement, or one of the small pro-European centrist lists in Italy; opposition parties such as Civic Coalition, Poland 2050, and the Left in Poland; the Social Democrats or Venstre in Denmark; and governing coalition parties such as the VVD, CDA, and D66, or the centre-left Labour and Green Left parties, in the Netherlands. Across all surveyed countries, 47 per cent of respondents who intend to vote for non-populist parties are in the ‘In Europe We Trust’ grouping.


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