Sixty-three percent of Germans in the YouGov poll said they did not find racial profiling generally problematic.
Another 27 percent said that it was problematic when police checks are not conducted based on concrete suspicions, but rather on general appearances, including perceived ethnicity or skin colour.
However, the poll also exposed disparity between age groups, with 46 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds saying they thought racial profiling wasn't problematic, compared with 43 percent who said it was.
The poll comes in the aftermath of the New Year's Eve police operation in Cologne when police said they had stopped hundreds of “Nafris” – a term for North Africans viewed as derogatory by some – and critics accused officers of racial profiling.
Though police had initially reported that most of those stopped and checked by police came from North Africa, a new report on Friday revealed that most of the men they identified came from Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan – and only a small portion from North Africa.
A much larger police presence had been dispatched this New Year after hundreds of women had reported being sexually assaulted or robbed at celebrations the year before, and many of the suspects came from North Africa.
The vast majority of the 4,390 people polled by YouGov said they were fine with the Cologne police's actions this year, with 82 percent saying that either the police had “done everything right”, or that overall the methods were justified, “even if some measures were maybe problematic”.
Just 8 percent said that the police actions were so problematic that they had a critical opinion.
When asked generally about racial profiling, 69 percent said they believed racial profiling to be “necessary for effective police work”.
The poll also directly compared the thoughts of Germans with those in the United States on the topic of racial profiling, and found that the two nations had completely opposing opinions on the matter.
When asked whether racial profiling is problematic, Americans answered 60 percent yes – compared to 27 percent of Germans. And when asked whether racial profiling is necessary for effective police work, 64 percent of Americans said no, while just 20 percent of Germans also answered no.
Whereas the discussion in Germany of racial profiling has opened up amid the large number of immigrants and refugees arriving in the country in recent years, the debate in the US often arises during cases of police violence against black Americans.
“The years-long protests and political debates on the topic in the USA seems to have left its mark on public opinion,” the YouGov report states. “For opponents of racial profiling in Germany, there is apparently still a lot to do.”