Except Germany. There, the number of people saying economic conditions are good has grown 12 percentage points, from 63 percent to 75 percent.
And hope for the future is in short supply. Across the eight nations, a median of 66 percent — including 90 percent of the French — think their children will be worse off financially than their parents when they grow up.
TO CUT OR NOT TO CUT?
"Europeans are of two minds about public debt," the authors of the poll wrote. A majority in six of the eight countries consider debt a very big problem. Even in the face of grinding austerity, the public in most of the countries, pressed to choose between reducing public spending and spending more, would rather cut.
Across Europe, a median of 59 percent think shrinking public debt is the best way to solve their country's economic problems. But a median of only 17 percent think debt reduction should be their government's top economic priority.
And more than 60 percent of people in each of the five euro countries want to keep the euro rather than switch back to their former currencies.
"I personally am not sure why," Stokes said. He and associates have speculated on the answer: "Better the devil we know than the devil we don't."
WHO TO TRUST?
Asked to name the most trustworthy country in the EU, seven of the eight countries polled picked Germany — including the Germans themselves. The lone holdout was Greece, which felt that Greece was the most trustworthy country.
Before Germans get too cocky, though, they should bear in mind that Germany — in effect, Europe's paymaster — was also seen as the most arrogant country, and the least caring.
And the most compassionate country in Europe? For that honor, each of the eight countries chose itself.
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