One in two Germans don’t know top European election candidates: Survey

One in two Germans don't know top European election candidates: Survey
Katarina Barley is lead candidate for the Social Democrats (SPD) in the European Parliament elections. Photo: DPA
With just a month to go before the European elections take place, the top German candidates are still largely unknown by the public.

A survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of DPA, found 45 percent of Germans did not know any of the nine top European Parliament election candidates from the parties represented in the Bundestag.

The Minister of Justice Katarina Barley, who was sent into the race by the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD),  has the highest degree of recognition, the poll found. A total of 39 percent of people said they knew who she was, just ahead of far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party chairman Jörg Meuthen, with 35 percent.

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A total of 2,029 people from a variety of backgrounds were surveyed across Germany between April 18th and 22nd. They were asked which candidates they were aware of and which election topics were important to them.

The most surprising result was that only one in four people – 26 percent – know the leading conservative candidate Manfred Weber, of the centre-right Christian Socialists (CSU, the sister party of the Christian Democrats), who is bidding to become president of the EU Commission.

Around the same amount of people are aware of pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) General Secretary Nicola Beer.

The top candidate for the Greens, Ska Keller is virtually unknown with 7 percent and Sven Giegold is in a similar position – only 6 percent of respondents recognized him.

From The Left party (Die Linke), 15 percent said they knew Özlem Alev Demirel and only 4 percent recognize Martin Schirdewan.

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Schirdewan shares the last place on the recognition scale with Udo Bullmann, the SPD's second top candidate, who also only achieved 4 percent. Even among the SPD supporters, only one in twenty (5 percent) knows the Hesse politician, who has been a member of the European Parliament for 20 years.

Meanwhile, only one of the nine top candidates has an awareness level of more than 50 percent, at least among voters of his own party: 54 percent of AfD supporters said they were aware of Meuthen and his European Parliament election bid.

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According to the YouGov survey, the importance of the election is estimated to be lower than that of the Bundestag, Landtag and local elections.

A total of 23 percent consider the Euro elections to be the least important of the four polls.

Climate protection and environmental policy (55 percent) were named by respondents as by far the most important issues, just ahead of refugee policy (54 percent). Then came right-wing populism (28 percent), financial policy (26 percent), Brexit (17 percent) and defence policy (15 percent).

Only 12 percent said internet regulation was an important issue.

Germany goes to the polls for the European Parliament election on May 26th.

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