More than 8,000 students at 25 colleges across the country were questioned in the poll, with that just 37 percent describing themselves as interested in politics – in 1983 the figure was 54 percent.
Fewer and fewer are describing themselves as left- or right-wing, with those who place themselves in the political centre or nowhere along the political spectrum were greater in number.
Tino Bargel, who ran the study, told Focus magazine, “Students have the impression that they cannot influence their professional career nor political decisions.”
He said this level of resignation had until now only seen among younger people, or those without professional qualification. The consequences included a reluctance for people to get involved in public life – reducing the pool of talents from which the next generation of politicians could be sourced.
The study showed a dramatic hardening of students' views on particular issues. Today 52 percent said they supported the ‘hard punishment of criminals', whereas the figure supporting such a proposal in 1985 was just 29 percent.
A quarter of students supported the ‘limitation of immigration' while 17 percent wanted to see ‘defence from excessive foreign cultural influences'.