VILNIUS - According to a recent international study, Lithuanians are more optimistic about the year 2004 than their Baltic neighbors. Forty percent of Lithuanians expect this year to be better in comparison with 36 percent of both Latvians and Estonians.
Residents of 60 countries were interviewed in a poll conducted by the public opinion and market research company TNS Gallup and the Gallup International association between this past November and December. Over 65,000 respondents aged 15-74 took part in the survey.
"The survey of public opinion shows that Lithuanians, contrary to Latvians and Estonians, are becoming more and more optimistic about the future," said Edmundas Brazenas, marketing director of TNS Gallup, in a press release circulated on Jan. 6.
It was unclear how much the dramatic presidential scandal in Lithuania influenced the results.
When interviewed about the prospects for 2002, Lithuanians were nearly the most pessimistic of all those interviewed in the world. Only 22 percent of Lithuanians held optimistic views then.
This year, however, they rank fourth among most optimistic residents of Central and Eastern Europe.
The highest proportions of people who expect 2004 to be better than the past year were found in Kosovo and Hong Kong (76 percent each), Georgia (73 percent) and Azerbaijan (72 percent).
Slovaks expressed the most pessimism about the next 12 months; a half of the country's population consider that this year will be worse than 2003. Some 46 percent of Greeks, 43 percent of Poles, 41 percent of Portuguese and 34 percent of Czechs also think that 2004 will be worse than the previous year.