D.he Corona crisis has apparently brought back trust in the state among the citizens. This is suggested by figures collected by the Forsa opinion research institute on behalf of the German Association of Civil Servants (dbb). In the annual public survey, the proportion of people who consider the state to be fully capable of acting and able to carry out its tasks has increased by 22 percentage points – from 34 to 56 percent. On the other hand, 40 percent of people say that the public sector is overwhelmed with the problems. In 2019, a clear majority (61 percent) shared this negative view.
The way in which the federal, state and local governments are dealing with the pandemic therefore seems to reverse a trend that had shaped the past few years: the gradual decline in trust in political institutions.
What is striking about the results is that there is no longer any difference between East and West in terms of belief in the state’s ability to act; in the east, confidence is one percentage point higher than in the west. Trust is also distributed relatively evenly between the various age groups; the group of 45 to 59-year-olds alone stands out with its particularly high level of trust (59 percent).
As in previous years, it can also be seen that trust in the state’s ability to act increases the higher the level of education (Hauptschule 44 percent compared to Abitur / university degree 61 percent). In the political camps, the values are highest among Social Democrats (69 percent), closely followed by supporters of the Greens (69) and CDU / CSU (67), followed by the FDP (55) a little further behind. On the other hand, many supporters of the left (57 percent) and especially the AfD (91 percent) consider the state to be overwhelmed.
Concerns about school and education policy
When asked which tasks the state is overwhelmed with, school and education policy ranks at the top with 22 percent, although the citizens apparently see many different problems. Concern about the consequences of the refugee crisis ranks second at a stable 20 percent, while internal security is no longer such a virulent problem for many (14 instead of 17 percent in the previous year). This is followed by the social security systems, pensions and health care.
In August 2006, the polling institute Forsa interviewed selected citizens for the survey.