Germans are the most likely to want to scrap the system, and Italians the most likely to want to keep it
Clocks go forward across the northern hemisphere this Sunday, depriving people of an hour in bed but providing for longer evenings over coming months.
The first European nations to adopt a daylight savings system did so during the first world war, although many have cancelled and then reintroduced the system on multiple occasions in the century since then.
There are occasional calls across the world to scrap the system, but as a new YouGov Eurotrack survey – conducted in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden – shows, attitudes differ wildly in Western European nations surveyed.
Germans are the most likely to want to bring daylight saving time to an end, at 75% compared to only 18% who want to retain it. Most people in northern neighbours Sweden (58%) and Denmark (56%) also want to do away with daylight savings time, as do the French by 49% to 36%.
Spaniards are divided, with 46% wanting to continue implementing daylight savings time versus 42% who want to scrap it. Britons are similarly divided, at 45% and 39% respectively. Italy is alone among the countries surveyed in having a majority in favour of keeping daylight savings time (56%, compared to 32% opposed).
Were daylight savings time to be discontinued, a decision would have to be made as to whether or not to stay on ‘summer time’ or ‘winter time’. On this, at least, there is more obvious agreement among nations – all except Sweden want to remain on summer time, preferring to keep sunset later in the evenings at the expense of later sunrises in the mornings. The preference is by particularly wide margins in Spain, France, Britain and Italy (59-64% for summer time vs 23-27% for winter time).
Swedes, by contrast, favour winter time by 51% to 33%.