EU-oriented, mobile, and less optimistic: political attitudes of young Poles

In the run-up to the parliamentary election, a new ZOiS Report by Félix Krawatzek provides insights into the political attitudes of young Poles, their political engagement, and their views on and experiences with other countries.

The report presents the results of a ZOiS survey carried out between 15 and 27 February 2019 among 2,000 respondents across Poland. It surveyed people aged 16–34 living in the urban areas.

Support for PO and PiS lower among young Poles

Seventy-five per cent of the respondents indicate that they want to participate in the parliamentary election. Of these, around one-third remain undecided about whom to vote for. While voting intentions at the start of the year cannot predict actual turnout in the upcoming election, the picture of voting intentions is nevertheless remarkable, notes Félix Krawatzek: “The support for both PO and PiS is significantly lower among young people than in the broader population, where PiS scored around 40 per cent and PO about 25 per cent at the time of the survey.”

Social Media main source of political information


To gain political information, young Poles mainly turn to social media, with Facebook being the most prominent outlet. The younger the respondents were, the more likely they were to name Facebook as their main source of information. “It is likely that the polarised structure and often antagonistic tone of Polish media outlets relate to the low trust scores the media receive from young people”, Félix Krawatzek, the author of the study, points out.

Low trust in church and the media


Trust in political and public institutions varies considerably: among the younger generation, trust in the media is particularly low; the parliament and the president received mixed scores, while NGOs, the army, and the police attain the highest trust values. Trust in the church is remarkably low, which relates to ongoing criticism of the church in relation to unaddressed issues of sexual abuse.

Positive views of the EU

The international political orientation of young people clearly points to the US and EU countries. “It is with these regions that young Poles want to develop closer relations, and the perception of the EU is overwhelmingly positive, with strong support for Poland’s EU membership. Young people’s personal experiences from travelling, working, or having family and friends abroad also relate primarily to the US and other EU countries”, explains Krawatzek.

Figure 1: Intended vote choice in parliamentary elections 2019

Figure 2: Main source of information

Figure 3: To what extend do you trust...

Figure 4: Was it right for Poland to have joined the EU?

More results from the survey can be found in ZOiS Report 4/2019: “A Youth in Poland: Outlook on life and political attitudes” by Félix Krawatzek.