Mind the Gap: Polish Constitutional Tribunal‘s Perception Before and After 2015 Constitutional Crisis

Kamil Jonski (University of Lodz)

Abstract

The general public‘s attitude towards the Polish Constitutional Tribunal before 2015 had been characterized by (i) low awareness and (ii) high propensity to give it the benefit of doubt. As a consequence, it enjoyed very high ratio of positive to negative opinions, despite the fact that nearly half of the respondents failed to form any categorical opinion on its performance. In this profile it resembled other technocratic counter-majoritarian institutions like the Monetary Policy Council, Supreme Audit Office or Ombudsman. The constitutional crisis of 2015 substantially changed both characteristics. Unaware public shrunk, and goodwill evaporated – with negative opinions dominating positive ones. In this respect, post-2016 CT became similar to the purely partisan bodies, like parliament chambers. Paper employs representative surveys carried out by Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS) and Polish National Election Study (PNES) over 2002-2021, to document this shift.

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