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Snapshot: Faith in Spanish Banks in Free Fall

Snapshot: Faith in Spanish Banks in Free Fall

by Steve Crabtree

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Eurozone finance ministers meet Friday to finalize a bailout deal for Spain's banks, which may help restore some of Spaniards' failing confidence in their financial sector. Fewer than one in five Spaniards (19%) surveyed earlier this year said they have confidence in their country's financial institutions or banks, down from just over half (52%) in 2008.

In Spain, do you have confidence in financial institutions or banks?

Since 2008, the Spanish financial sector has been struggling to recover from the country's housing market collapse, after which Spain's regional banks were stuck with billions in bad debt. The bailout deal will immediately make available 30 billion euros of a credit line likely to total about 100 billion euros ($123 billion). The deal may help ease some investors' fears of a run on the banks, as a growing number of depositors have been transferring money out of Spain and into stronger eurozone countries such as Germany.

It will take far more than an influx of cash to solve Spain's long-term economic woes, however. The country's official unemployment rate hit an 18-year high of 24.4% in the first quarter of 2012. Gallup's employment tracking from 2011 also reveals high underemployment and unemployment rates compared with other European countries. Almost all Spanish adults (93%) now tell Gallup it is a bad time to find a job in the city or area where they live, and 30% of those in the workforce say they are actively looking for work.

Investment and consumer spending are unlikely to improve as long as Spaniards continue to see little hope that economic conditions are beginning to turn around. Three-fourths say the national economy is getting worse, while 10% say it is getting better -- figures that have changed little since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009.

Do you think economic conditions in Spain are getting better or getting worse?

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 Spanish adults, aged 15 and older, per survey wave. Surveys were conducted in July 2005, April 2007, March-April 2008, April 2009, May 2010, March 2011, and February-March 2012. For results based on each total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.6 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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