The survey obtained a total of 519 interviews of transatlantic opinion leaders, 286 in Washington, DC and 233 in Brussels. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in the US and by TNS Opinion in Europe. In both the US and Europe, data were collected via telephone and via online administration. The US fieldwork took place between June 17-September 13, 2010 and from June 21-October 1, 2010 in Europe. The results of this survey are compared to the findings of Transatlantic Trends 2010. Transatlantic Trends is a comprehensive annual survey of American and European public opinion. Polling was conducted by TNS Opinion between June 1 and June 29, 2010, in the United States and 12 European countries: Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom with a sample size of approximately 1000 respondents per country. For results based on the national samples of the general public in each of the 13 countries surveyed, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus three percentage points. For results based on the total European sample, the margin of error is plus or minus one percentage point. In addition to sampling errors, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can also introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls. (More on the methodology of Transatlantic Trends 2010 can be found at www.transatlantictrends.org)
The opinion leaders in this survey include political, administrative, social and economic leaders. As for politicians, in US, senior level Congressional staff and senior level office-holders in the Executive Branch were interviewed, while in Europe members of the European parliament from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as high level officials of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union were included in the sample. As for economic leaders, representatives of businesses and labor unions were interviewed. As for other types of leaders, the sample included journalists, key staff from non-governmental groups such as think tanks and trade associations as well as quasi-governmental organizations such as the World Bank and NDI.
Details on the design, execution and analysis of the survey are available for both the US and EU at www.transatlantictrends.org.
Sample Design and Selection
The first step in this project was to assemble an appropriate sampling frame. The sample included decision makers from five broad segments:
- Legislative Branch
- Executive Branch
- Business and Labor Organizations
- Non-Governmental Organizations
The Legislative Branch sample included the members of the House and Senate, the top aides, both personal and committee, to the members, including the majority and minority committee counsel. Sample for the legislative staffers was derived in three ways: one was completely random, the second placed emphasis on locating staffers who served on staff of Congressional leaders serving on House and Senate Committees related to Foreign Policy and the third was a sample contributed by the German Marshall Fund’s own list of House and Senate contacts.
For the piece of the sample that focused on the Fund’s targeted area, the House Committees selected from included Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security. Majority and minority counsel were selected from these committees. In addition, a random selection of staffers from the offices of House members serving on these committees was selected. The Representatives’ staff sample was selected in proportion to the Republican-Democrat distribution on the committee itself. Titles selected included Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, and Legislative Correspondent.
For the Senate Committees majority and minority counsel members were selected from Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget, Finance, Foreign Relations, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. In addition, staffers from the offices of Senators serving on these committees were randomly selected. The individual members’ staff was selected in proportion to the Republican-Democrat distribution on the committee itself. Titles selected included Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, and Legislative Correspondent.
Decision-makers in the Executive Branch agencies were selected from Leadership Library based on title. Titles selected included Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Under-Secretaries, Bureau and Program Chiefs, Deputy Directors and Directors.
One half of the sample was selected from decision makers in the Department of State and Department of Defense. The remainder of the sample was selected from other White House and other Cabinet level departments, such as Commerce, Education, and Justice.
Business and Labor Organizations
For the Business and Labor organizations, executives in the Washington offices of the Top 200 Corporations from Fortune magazine were selected, as well as executives from the AFL-CIO and the top 20 labor unions by membership.
Individuals were then randomly selected based on job title. Decision makers in this group held titles of Director or Vice President of Governmental/Legislative Relations or Programs, or a similar title and their immediate subordinates.
Journalists and commentators based in Washington were included in the sample. Both Leadership Library and Bacon’s Media Source were utilized for selecting this sample. Journalists were selected from all types of media; print, radio, TV, and Internet outlets. The sample was winnowed to include those who focused on government and national affairs, defense and foreign policy, or homeland and national security issues.
Major think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, Center for American Progress and Brookings Institution were included in the sample. In order to obtain a list of individuals, PSRAI started with the 2008 Global Go To Think Tanks list compiled by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania– located at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/files/2008_Global_Go_To_Think_Tanks.pdf. This list was supplemented through additional web searches of similar organizations. Specific individuals were selected by reviewing think tank web sites and selecting those with appropriate titles. Titles that were selected included Senior Fellow, Director, Program Director, and Executive Director.
Washington-based executives at international organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other similar groups were selected. Organizations were randomly selected from a listing maintained by Duke University Libraries: http://library.duke.edu/research/subject/guides/ngo_guide/ngo_links/index.html.
Once an organization was selected, PSRAI located the organization web site and attempted to select an individual respondent based on titles. Those with titles such as Executive Director, Associate Director, President, Vice President, and similar senior management titles were eligible for inclusion.
Non-Profit and Trade Associations
A list of non-profit groups was downloaded from Leadership Library. These non-profit groups needed to have a location in Washington, DC. Senior level titles were selected. PSRAI searched Wikipedia for a list of U.S. based trade associations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_industry_trade_groups_in_the_United_States
PSRAI then went to each randomly selected trade association web site to locate an appropriate respondent and their contact information. Again, respondents would have a senior level title, such as Director, Senior Analyst, Vice President or similar.
The protocol for the survey followed best practices for such efforts:
- Most respondents received an advance notice letter via USPS postal mail.
- Congressional staffers received an advance notice letter via fax, as the postal mail sent to Congressional offices is often severely delayed in delivery due to security procedures.
- Letters and faxes included a toll-free number to call to complete the interview or to schedule the interview. In addition, letters and faxes included a web address and password to complete the interview online.
- For those respondents for whom an email address was available, an email invitation was sent 7-10 days after the first letter. The time was shortened significantly for Congressional Staffers, since delivery was immediate by fax. E-mail invitations to Staffers were sent 3 days after the advance notice letter.
- Approximately 5 days after the advance notice letter was sent, calls began to those without an email address.
- Calls began to those with email addresses approximately 7 days after the initial invitation was sent.
- A second email reminder was sent 3-4 weeks after the first letter to those who had not yet responded.
- As calls were made and respondents requested an e-mail invitation, these were sent on a daily basis as needed.
Overall, the response rate is 18.7%, ranging from a high of 47% among Think Tanks to a low of 10% among Congressional Staffers. The table below shows response rate for the individual segments of the sample.
As for the US, the first step was to assemble an appropriate sampling frame for the EU Brussels-bases opinion leaders. The sample included decision makers from five broad segments: European Parliament, Top-level officials from the European Commission and the Council, Business and Labor Organizations, Media and Non-Governmental Organizations.
Members of the European Parliament
The field work amongst the MEPs started in June, but due to the parliamentary summer holiday period, and the low participation rate, needed to be extended to the months of July and August. Field work resumed once the MEPs returned to their offices the first week of September.
Interviews amongst MEPs were conducted by these six TNS opinion institutes:
Germany TNS EMNID – Bielefeld
Spain TNS Demoscopia – Madrid
France TNS Sofres – Paris
Italy TNS Abacus – Milan
Poland TNS OBOP – Warsaw
United Kingdom ICM Direct – London
CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews) was used in all countries for the MEPs. The number of interviews that were conducted for each country is detailed below.
The contact details (name and telephone number) of all MEPs in both Brussels and Strasbourg were made available to all national institutes. In order to increase the response rate for this study, a letter was sent to the chair of each political group asking them to encourage their members to support this research prior to the dispatch of another letter to all MEPs in the countries concerned informing them of this survey. In the selection procedure, our partner institutes ensured, where possible, that the sample was representative of the actual distribution of MEPs by political groups and national parties in the European Parliament. In fact, in all countries, all MEPs involved were contacted and subject to availability, interviews were conducted. The response rate in Italy was much lower than anticipated. An average across the 6 countries of 4.5 contacts were needed to complete 1 successful interviews.
European Commission and Council of the European Union, Businessl Labour, Media and Other Interest Groups
Interviews among High level officials at the European Commission and at Council of the European Union, Business executives, Labour representatives, Media and Other interest representatives (total n=128) were conducted online between 12 July and 30 September 2010 by RM Plus d.o.o. – Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The number of interviews that were conducted is detailed below.
CAWI (Computer assisted Web interviews) was used to target these subgroups. An invitation letter was initially sent to each individual, followed by reminder letters, in order to encourage their participation.
Online Contact Procedures
- All respondents in the online sample received an invitation letter via email, to introduce the survey and encourage participation. The invitation email included a link to the previous Transatlantic Surveys to set context for the survey.
- The introduction letter was customised to each specific group and included a link to the online self-completion interview.
- A reminder email invitation was sent 7-10 days after the initial invitation.
- Completed interviews began as soon as the invitation email link was sent out, as access is open immediately.
- As the response rates were low initially, and as standard procedure dictates, reminder emails were sent several times to those who had not yet responded. The average time between each reminder email was 7-10 days. Council and Commission officials, Labour representatives received 6 reminder emails, Corporations EU Top 500, Chambers of Commerce, Law Firms, Consultants, Trade Professional Organizations, Interest Groups, Think Tanks, International Organizations, Journalists and Press Agencies received 4 reminder emails.
European Commission (n=33): High level officials (head of unit, director general and director) within some Directorates-General at the European Commission were included in the target group. The DGs who deal more with transatlantic issues were selected:
- Development Directorate-General
- Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate-General
- Enlargement Directorate-General
- Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General
- External Relations Directorate-General
- Humanitarian Aid Directorate-General
- Justice, Liberty and Security Directorate-General
- Trade Directorate-General
Council of the European Union (n=24): Civil servants of the Council of the European Union from COREPER I and II (Permanent Representative and Deputy Permanent Representative) and from the National Permanent Representations to the EU (Counselor, Ambassador, Antici, First/Second Secretary, Head of the cabinet, Major-General Military Representative, Mertens, Representative to the Political and Security Committee-PSC), as well as civil servants from the General Secretariat providing general advice to the Council (Director-General, Director, Head of Unit) were included in the target group. For the General Secretariat, the DGs who deal more with transatlantic issues were selected:
- DG C- Competitiveness, Innovation and Research, Industry and Information Society, Internal Market, Competition and Customs, Transport, Energy
- DG E- External and Political-Military Affairs
- DG H- Economic and Social Affairs
- DG G- Justice and Home Affairs, Military Staff
In terms of contact details the latest edition of the European Public Affairs Directory and the EU Who is who, the Official Directory of the European Union were used to compile the sample list.
Business (n=31): within the Business sample, respondents have been selected among high-level executives (Top Manager, Head of Department/Unit, President) of Corporations, Law Firms, Consultancies, Trade Professional Organizations and Chambers of Commerce represented in Brussels.
For Corporations, Law Firms and Consultancies, European-level companies and organizations and other national organizations belonging to EU countries were selected. For Chambers of Commerce and Trade Professional Organizations, European-level organizations and national organizations belonging to the 11 TTS EU countries were selected (BG, DE, ES, FR, IT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, UK). For what concerns Corporations, the Europe top 500 corporations listed by the Financial Times in 2009 based or represented in Brussels were included. For what concerns Chambers of Commerce, Consultants, Law Firms and Professional Associations, only those organizations which belong to one of the following policy area were included:
- Government Relations/Affairs
- Legislative affairs
- European Affairs
- International Affairs
- Business and Finance
- Defense and Security
- Other (general)
Labour Unions (n=2): For Labour Unions representatives, respondents have been selected among high-level executives (Top Manager, Head of Department/Unit, President) of organizations represented in Brussels. European-level companies and organizations and other national organizations belonging to EU countries were selected.
Other Interest Representatives (n=31): within the Other Interest Representatives sample, respondents have been selected among high-level executives (Top Manager, Head of Department/Unit, President) of International Organizations, NGOs and Think Tanks based or represented in Brussels.
For what concerns these sub-groups, those who focus on the following issues were selected:
- Transatlantic Policies (ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES, DEMOCRACY PROMOTION, HUMAN RIGHTS)
- Security Issues
- International Economy
Media (n=7): Journalists active in the field of European affairs and Transatlantic issues working for networks belonging to the six EU countries selected for the MEPs sample have been selected, including TV and radio as well as newspapers. Editors belonging to Press Agencies were included as well. Only the accredited press in Brussels was considered.
These four groups have been drawn from the European Public Affairs Directory and from the European Commission Register of Interests.