The Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) conducts regular surveys among Lithuanian opinion leaders to elicit their attitudes to the emerging market economy and judgements on the ongoing reform process. The questionnaires are designed to follow up on previous polls to ascertain shifts in opinion and the proportion of people supporting free market solutions. The opinion polls target top policy makers, leading entrepreneurs, academia, reporters, and a cross-section of public leaders.
The LFMI’s conducted opinion poll shows that 60 percent of Lithuania’s opinion leaders support Lithuania’s integration into the European Union, 31 percent support rather than oppose the intergration, and 1.5 percent oppose it (Figure 1). In terms of professional groups polled, 79.2 percent of politicians are outright advocates of the accession, with business people and academia (about 14 percent) being the most sceptical.
Supporters of the ruling right approve of the integration to a greater degree than those of the left. A considerable share of the respondents supporting leftist views disapprove of, or oppose rather than support, the accession, whereas no such position was reported by the respondents with rightist views.
Opinion leaders about Lithuania’s integration into the EU:
Support rather than oppose (31%)
Oppose rather than support (6%)
No opinion (1.5%)
Opinion leaders were asked to assess their own economic attitudes and those of Lithuanian political parties in terms of rightism and leftism, with +10 indicating extreme rightist views and -10 indicating extreme leftist views.
The results show one notable distinction as compared with previous polls: the evaluation of the Conservative Party shifted considerably to the right, jumping from +1 to +5.4.
As several consecutive poll polls suggest, the trend is toward rightist assessments of political parties by their supporters as compared to the average. In the last poll, however, there was an exception: supporters of the Democratic Labour Party now tend to think that the party is more of a leftist orientation than they themselves. Also, supporters of the LDLP now consider the party to be more leftist than advocates of other parties. Socialdemocrats, the main rivals of the LDLP, assessed the LDLP with an extremely rightist +4, or more rightist than the Centre Union and very close to the Conservative Homeland Union.