Latvian society downbeat with hopes of being upbeat

The latest in a regular series of snapshots of public opinion suggests Latvians are becoming gradually more optimistic about their prospects, though the general mood is still pretty downbeat.

The ''Latvian Barometer'' research is carried out for boutique bank Baltic International Bank by the SKDS pollster and involves interviews with 1,003 Latvian residents aged 18 to 74.

"The comparison of the results of the Baltic International Bank's Latvian Barometer published in November 2016 and 2017 shows that, in people's opinion, the situation in Latvia has not improved much," said the bank's spokeswoman, Teika Lapsa, adding that this year the respondents were more critical in particular about the government's performance and Latvia's future development.

The index reflecting the public opinion about Latvia's overall development is minus 22 points, down by 7 points from fall 2016, the index showing the current economic situation in the country is minus 29 points, and the index illustrating approval of the government's performance has dropped to minus 39 points from minus 35 points in November 2016.

This year only 3 percent of respondents think that Latvia's current economic situation is good, down from 5 percent in fall last year. Latvian are still pessimistic about the national economy improving over the next 12 months with the index value at minus 5 points in November 2017 (minus 4 points in November 2016).

The only sphere where positive changes were recorded year-on-year was the family financial situation - the number of respondents describing it as good has increased to 16 percent from 13 percent a year ago, and the share of respondents unhappy with their financial situation has declined from 31 percent in 2016 to 28 percent this fall. In addition, fewer respondents were pessimistic about their financial situation getting better in a year - 11 percent this year as compared to 13 percent in 2016.

As to the employment opportunities, the public opinion remains largely unchanged - 8 percent still think that people in Latvia have all the chances of finding a good job here while pessimists prevail at 59 percent (60 percent in November 2016).

However, looking on the bright side, most categories recorded an improvement in September compared with August, so all is not lost.

And with regards to the looming centenary celebrations, people were asked what they felt was the three most important achievements of the last century. The top answers were national independence (38%), joining the European Union (21%) and sporting success (19%). 

In addition nearly three quarters (73%) of those surveyed said they were either very proud (24%) or fairly proud (49%) of living in Latvia.

The full research is available (in Latvian only) HERE.

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