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The Warsaw Voice » Society » January 9, 2008
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Optimism Rules OK
January 9, 2008 By W.¯.    
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The country is brimming with optimism, according to a survey entitled Current Problems and Events conducted late 2007 by Poland's CBOS polling center.

An overwhelming majority of Poles believe that the new year will bring a greater sense of well-being and that quality of life will improve everywhere around the world. People's sense of well-being started to pick up after the massive social and political changes that began in 1988 just before the collapse of communism got under way, according to CBOS. Last year was extraordinary in that 36 percent of respondents described themselves as "satisfied," while only 11 percent rated themselves as "dissatisfied." This stands in stark contrast to the situation in 1988 when only 18 percent described themselves as "satisfied," while 16 percent rated themselves as "dissatisfied."

Family life remains the primary source of satisfaction. Ninety-five percent of parents claim to be satisfied with their offspring, and 88 percent of married people claim to be happy in their relationships.

Work, home and health
The proportion of those declaring themselves satisfied with their housing situation has risen from 69 percent to 81 percent since 1999, while the proportion of those claiming to be satisfied with their state of health has risen from 49 percent to 57 percent over the same period. Fifty-nine percent of those in work claim to be satisfied with their employment as against 51 percent in 1994.

The most improved satisfaction indexes since 1994 have been those which measure material and economic well-being. Yet these aspects of life remain the least cited sources of satisfaction. Forty-seven percent claim to be satisfied with the material side of their lives (apartments, furnishings and so on), compared with 23 percent in 1994, while 18 percent claim to be dissatisfied, compared with 40 percent in 1994. People are far less satisfied with their incomes and overall financial situations. Twenty-four percent claim to be satisfied, compared with nine percent in 1994, while 44 percent claim to be dissatisfied, compared with 68 percent in 1994.
Overall prospects in life had 38 percent expressing satisfaction, 33 percent moderate satisfaction, 18 percent dissatisfaction, and 11 percent claiming to be undecided.

"We can now state, on the basis of many years' research, that those indicators measuring public sentiment discussed in this paper have all changed for the better since 1988," the CBOS report reads.

"This improvement, however, was particularly pronounced last year, which may in part be attributed to the political changes of last fall, although self-esteem and personal satisfaction appear to be quite robust and not so closely connected with political events."

The survey was conducted Dec. 1-4 on a representative, random sample of 870 adult Polish residents.

In another survey, the Gazeta Wyborcza daily newspaper commissioned market researchers PBS DGA to poll 500 Poles about their predictions for the coming year Dec. 27. Seventy-three percent of respondents believed their family lives would be more satisfying; 61 percent said the same about their love lives, and 60 percent about their professional lives. Seventy-four percent thought the overall situation in Poland and Europe would improve, and 61 percent felt equally optimistic about the world in general.

People generally rated athletes as the socio-professional group most likely to experience personal satisfaction in 2008. As many as 85 percent of respondents thought that Polish athletes would remember this year as a particularly rewarding one. Sociologists attribute this euphoria to the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing and to the Polish national soccer team having qualified for the European soccer championship finals for the first time in history. Eighty-two percent thought that life would be even better for the business community. Physicians and teachers-two groups fighting the government for higher salaries-came in third, with 78 percent saying these groups would have a better year in 2008. The indicator is lower for "common folks," but still 66 percent.
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