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Patriotic Germans flying the flag for football

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Patriotic Germans flying the flag for football
The pride of Stuttgart. Photo: DPA
12:23 CEST+02:00
A majority of Germans support flying the country's black, red, and gold flag in patriotic support of the national football team during the Euro 2008, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

The survey, carried out by pollster Forsa for Stern magazine, showed backers of the conservative Christian Democrats were unsurprisingly the most ardent flag wavers, with 75 percent ready to raise the German tricolour.

But even Germans supporting political parties traditionally more sceptical towards open displays of patriotic pathos thought it was acceptable to flaunt a flag during the football tournament. Some 59 percent of Green party supporters liked the ubiquitous black, red and gold, and even a slim majority – 51 percent – of people favouring the hard-line socialist party The Left did too.

“It shows that the national consciousness has reached the middle of society,” Volker Kronenberg, a political scientist at the University of Bonn, told Stern.

Support for flying the flag was especially high among younger Germans. Almost three-quarters of those under 29 years old – 73 percent – enjoy seeing the national colours everywhere. But only 59 percent of people over 60-years-old like the public patriotism.

Four out of every five Germans – 80 percent – are convinced big football tournaments such as the Euro and the World Cup increase their identification with their country. Germans also more patriotic than they were in the past: 70 percent said that they were rather proud or very proud to be German. Nine years ago only 63 said they were.

Forsa surveyed 1,003 people across Germany for the poll on June 11.

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