Spanish King Felipe VI has achieved in his first four years of reign the best valuation of the Monarchy since its restoration, according to the survey conducted by GAD3 for ABC, which gives him a 75.3 percent popularity. Results that even exceeds, in a few decimals, those recorded in the best times of the reign of Don Juan Carlos, when Spaniards scored 7.48 over ten to the Monarchy in the survey conducted by the Center for Sociological Research (CIS) in 1995. However, before Don Felipe was proclaimed King, in June 2014, during several years the valuation of the Crown had begun to decrease, and in April of that same year it stood at a worrying 3.72 out of ten.
The new survey was conducted after a year especially marked by the Catalan separatist challenge – with the holding of the illegal referendum and the illegal declaration of independence in Catalonia – and in which Don Felipe assumed a prominent role with the message he addressed to the Spaniards on October 3rd. After these events, the majority of Spaniards, 66.6 percent, value positively or very positively the role played by Don Felipe in defending the unity of Spain, according to the GAD3 survey.
Attacks by separatists
Also the majority of Spaniards, 54.8 percent, consider that the attacks of the separatist leaders to the Monarchy are a response to the role played by Don Felipe in the independence challenge undertaken by the former president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont, and that later his successor, Joaquim Torra, continued. However, more than half of the respondents, 53.3 percent, believe that the role of the King was not crucial in stopping the independence coup in Catalonia. And, because of its characteristics, this coup has not been able to be stopped in its tracks, as Don Juan Carlos could do with his speech on 23-F 1981 after the military coup of Lieutenant Colonel Tejero in the Congress of Deputies.
The respondents value very positively the modernization of the Crown that Don Felipe undertook when he was proclaimed King by adopting a series of measures to adapt the institution to new times and to provide it with greater transparency. In fact, this process of modernization of the Monarchy receives the acclaim of 60.9 percent.
In addition, more than half of the respondents, 55.6 percent, highlights the King’s role in defending institutional stability and 52.7 values Don Felipe’s respect for political neutrality. Two questions that were put to the test after the first elections of Don Felipe’s reign, when Parliament broke up and there was a ten-month political blockade, the longest of democracy. However, respondents are divided when assessing the King’s moderating role among political forces. 45.6 percent value it negatively and 43.8 percent positively.
More than half of Spaniards, 51.2 percent, consider that the contribution of the Monarchy to the stability of Spain is very important or quite important, compared to 47.3 that qualifies it as little or nothing important. This division of opinions is conditioned by the political ideas of those consulted. In fact, 86.6 percent of PP voters believe that the Monarchy contributes greatly to the stability of Spain. The same think 71 percent of the voters of Citizens and 65 percent of those of the PSOE. However, in the case of the followers of the left-wing Republican coalition Podemos, it is reduced to 17 percent.
The survey also confirms the high degree of appreciation that the role of the monarch presents as the representative of Spain in the international community. Although in recent times, trips of the sovereigns abroad and the visits of foreign leaders to Spain have been reduced, as a result of internal political problems. Even so, 72.2 percent of respondents believe that the King is “a good Ambassador of Spain abroad”, compared to a 24.6 who considers that he is not.
Despite his high popularity, Don Felipe is not the most valued member of the Royal Family. He is surpassed by his mother, Doña Sofía, who obtains 76.2 percent approval. In addition, an overwhelming 86.6 percent of respondents believe that throughout her live – in November she will turn 80 – Doña Sofía has played her role with great dedication. She and Don Felipe have traditionally achieved the highest levels of approval, although as the reign advances and the King’s valuation rises, the difference between the two narrows.
An unfavorable moment
The rest of the members of the Royal Family, Doña Letizia and Don Juan Carlos, also receive approval, although the GAD3 survey was carried out at a time that was not very favorable for both of them. Specifically, it was held on July 30 and 31, when the Queen was still trying to counteract the effects of the video of the Cathedral of Palma, and Don Juan Carlos had just been used by excomisario preso Villarejo in his campaign to try to extort the State. In those circumstances, Doña Letizia obtained 58.1 percent approval and Don Juan Carlos 54.7.
The survey was done when the Kings had just begun their stay in Palma de Mallorca, where they alternate institutional activity with sports, leisure and family outings. Don Juan Carlos, who also planned to travel to the island this summer, had to cancel the transfer at the last minute on medical recommendation as a result of an old wrist injury.
As seen in all surveys of the Royal Family for decades, the approval of its members is higher among the segments of older citizens. Even so, Don Felipe, Doña Letizia and Doña Sofía get the approval of the citizens of all age groups, including the youngest ones (18 to 29 years old). Don Juan Carlos, however, only receives 36 percent approval form the youngest, while maintaining a 70 percent valuation among older respondents (65 and older), who were already adults during the Transition and lived the restoration of Democracy.
Better than politicians
According to the survey, almost four out of ten Spaniards (39.2 percent) value Don Felipe better than politicians. Another 37.6 percent rate it the same and only 19.5 consider that the King is worse than the political class. This assessment is very linked to the political views of the respondents. In fact, the majority of the voters of the PP (62 percent) believe that the King is better than the political class. 57 percent of the voting citizens and 49 percent of PSOE seem to think the same. Most supporters of Podemos believe that the King is equal (49 percent) or worse (37 percent) than politicians. Still, a striking 12 percent of voters in the left-leaning Republican coalition value Don Felipe better than the political class.
Original article in Spanish by: