Here’s a little gem of an opinion poll from November 1980.
It was only a few months after the Gdansk agreement signed between the communist authorities and the Solidarity trade union – the first such organization anywhere in the communist bloc.
The economy was on its knees. The commies, never too bright at the best of times, had blown all the western credits they had received in the 1970’s. The government was weak and isolated. The writing was already on the wall. Polish communism would be history in nine years time.
So what were Poles thinking at the time? Here’s a report from Time magazine, November 1980:
‘An intriguing glimpse of Polish attitudes was provided last week by the French magazine Paris Match, which published the results of an unusual public opinion poll taken inside Poland. Working with handwritten questionnaires, eight pollsters from Public S.A., a French firm, clandestinely queried a representative sample of 500 Poles.
Most of the respondents were deeply dissatisfied with the quality of their lives: 86% said their purchasing power was insufficient, and 69% found the government unresponsive. An overwhelming 90% blamed "the men in power." By contrast, 86% favored the Gdansk agreements, but 65% expected the government to "gnaw away" at the concessions it granted the unions.
Only 3% said they would vote for the Communist Party in free elections, compared with 34% for Christian Democrats, 27% for Socialists and 19% for Liberals (meaning European conservatives).
A Soviet invasion was thought "possible" by 41%, while 25% felt it was "certain." Two-thirds said they would actively resist the invaders. Asked which nation was Poland's "best friend," 34% replied "none." Next came France with 17% and the U.S. with 13%. Only 2% named the Soviet Union.’
Are Poles happier today?