The Germans are not deeply divided. Social cohesion is not really good either. A study looked at what the political mood looks like.
Berlin – The gap between people with very different political views has grown in Germany over the past two decades.
However, according to a new study by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), it was not as big as it was in the 1980s. The analysis available to the German Press Agency is based primarily on two representative surveys in 2019 and 2020.
The latest survey shows that politically motivated reservations are currently to be found particularly between supporters of the AfD on the one hand and supporters of the Greens on the other. To a lesser extent, this also applies to supporters of the AfD and the Left Party. In the first years after the founding of the Greens in 1980, the gap between voters from the CDU and CSU on the one hand and the supporters of the new eco party on the other was particularly large.
The study cites immigration as well as taxes, social benefits and climate protection as examples of policy areas in which opinions have recently diverged further than before. For example, on the issue of climate protection in competition with economic growth, the supporters of different parties have diverged. In 2013, the gap between the two most distant parties – the Union and the Greens at the time – was 2.2 points. At the end of 2019 / beginning of 2020, the maximum difference between the parties was 3.8 points on the scale, now between the AfD and the Greens.
Greens are perceived as a sympathetic party
AfD politicians and voters – especially in western Germany – sometimes feel that they are not socially accepted. This observation is not entirely wrong. In a survey in August and September last year, according to the KAS, 62 percent of Germans said they did not want to have anything to do with AfD voters. Only 13 percent of the electorate said this about the voters of the Greens. According to the information, 9 percent of those surveyed did not want any contact with CDU voters. One in five said they did not want to have anything to do with climate activists personally. Even more people (22 percent) did not want to be in contact with SUV drivers.
As the study by the CDU-affiliated foundation shows, the Greens are perceived as a sympathetic party beyond their own electorate. 55 percent of those eligible to vote said they liked the Greens. About 45 percent of the SPD said this in a survey by the opinion research institute Infratest dimap between October 2019 and February 2020. 44 percent of those surveyed took the CDU as a sympathetic party. Around 30 percent of the participants in the survey found the CSU, FDP and Left party very or rather sympathetic.
In contrast, the AfD was perceived as a sympathetic party by only 13 percent of those eligible to vote. This roughly corresponds to the result of the right-wing populists in the 2017 federal election. At that time, the party received 12.6 percent of the second vote. In the federal election last September, 10.3 percent of voters voted for the AfD, with approval for the party in the east significantly higher than in the western federal states.
A clear majority of those entitled to vote place themselves politically in the middle. According to the KAS study, only around six percent of Germans see themselves on the right edge. 13 percent of those eligible to vote belong to the far left spectrum.
Strongly changed attitude towards gender roles
In a long-term comparison, opinion researchers have found major changes in attitudes to gender roles and migration, among other things. While in 2009 around 40 percent of Germans were in favor of restricting immigration opportunities for foreigners, at the beginning of 2020 only one in five held this view. This may also have something to do with the fact that the number of Germans with foreign roots has increased.
The view of the role of women in work and society has changed even more. In 2012, 22 percent of Germans agreed with the sentence “Having a job is quite nice, but what most women really want is a home and children”. In a survey for the KAS study at the end of 2019 / beginning of 2020, only nine percent of adults indicated more or less agreement with this statement. dpa
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