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More Germans fear climate change than terrorism, poll shows

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More Germans fear climate change than terrorism, poll shows
An image of the Earth taken by NASA. Photo: NASA/DPA.
15:12 CEST+02:00
A new survey ahead of the national election in September shows Germans are more concerned about the future state of the environment than they are about more headline-grabbing topics like terrorism or the refugee crisis.

The survey released on Tuesday conducted by research group Kantar Emnid Institute on behalf of publishing group Funke Mediengruppe found that 71 percent of respondents said they were most personally concerned about climate change. This worry ranked higher than the possibility of new wars, listed by 65 percent of survey participants, and also above terror attacks, listed by 63 percent.

Crime was noted as a worry by 62 percent of the 1,000 participants surveyed, who were able to list more than one fear.

Less than half of those polled (45 percent) said they were anxious about the immigration of refugees into the country, while the lowest concern was unemployment (33 percent). 

Though climate change was the biggest concern named by Germans, the topic doesn't seem to be winning any more support for the environment-conscious Green party, which is currently polling at around 8 percent. 

"Environment and climate protection have already greatly mattered to people in Germany for years," Torsten Schneider-Haase, head of political research at Kantar Emnid, explained to the publishing group.

"The fight against climate change has been understood as a cross-party effort, and not only associated with the Green party."

Plus, he noted that Chancellor Angela Merkel stood out recently as a convincing advocate for battling climate change after she criticized US President Donald Trump for announcing that his country would withdraw from the international Paris climate agreement.

SEE ALSO: Germany says climate pact 'not renegotiable' after Trump pulls out

The fact that most of those polled did show concern for security issues like wars, crime and terrorist attacks could have an implication for how people ultimately vote in September, Schneider-Haase added.

"Security topics play a big role. This pertains to external, internal and social security," said Schneider-Haase.

The analyst also noted that because Merkel's conservative Union parties of the CDU and CSU are considered competent in the area of security, this makes them "well-positioned" for the German parliament (Bundestag) election on September 24th. Therefore Merkel herself has an advantage over her most serious challenger, centre-left SPD leader Martin Schulz.

"If Martin Schulz makes labour market topics a central issue... then he will not reach a large part of the population," Schneider-Haase explained.

"The classic topics of social equity will not win anyone more votes right now."

According to the institute, support for the Union parties is currently polling at 38 percent, while the SPD is at 24 percent.

The survey also found differences among respondents according to their political party preferences.

Supporters of the far-right AfD party were much more likely to be worried about an influx of refugees at 90 percent, and were also more concerned than the general population about crime (84 percent) as well as terror attacks (72 percent).

On the other end of the political spectrum, supporters of Die Linke (The Left Party) were most concerned about old-age poverty (71 percent), new wars (69 percent) and climate change (58 percent).

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