Germans are Europeans most immune to populism: study

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 21 Nov, 2016 Updated Mon 21 Nov 2016 11:23 CEST
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According to new research by polling firm YouGov, of the larger European countries, Germany is by far the least prone to populism.


The survey, seen exclusively by Die Welt, shows that around 18 percent of Germans are receptive to populist forms of politics.

This is considerably lower than in the UK and Italy, where just under half the population were seen to have a weakness for populist politics, and far below France at 63 percent.

Romania had the highest level of sympathy for populist politics at 82 percent, followed by Poland at 78 percent.

The survey revealed that older Germans are more likely to sympathize with populist parties like the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) than younger voters.

The survey also showed that those with a middling level of education were much more likely to have populist leanings than those with high or low levels of education.

While 57 percent of moderately educated respondents gave answers showing populist leanings, only around 20 percent of those with either limited or high levels of education did.

German men are also much more likely to be receptive to populism than women at 65 percent compared to 35 percent.

The study defines populist sympathy by assessing certain basic convictions, including a rejection of the EU, general reservations about immigration, a critical view on current interpretations of human rights, and a preference for foreign policy which is strongly based on national interests.

According to Die Welt, the survey was designed to reveal populist leanings on the right and left of the political spectrum.

Whereas populist sympathies on both the right and left of the political spectrum were revealed in other European countries, they were almost exclusively on the right in Germany.

“While in other European countries, above all in France, we are seeing a strong leaning towards an authoritarian populism, Germany is the country most capable of resisting this,” Joe Twyman, research director at YouGov told Die Welt.

“Spain also has a low level of populist feeling which indicated that the recent history of both countries could explain this.”



The Local 2016/11/21 11:23

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