"Wir schaffen das!" (We can do it!) said German Chancellor, Angela Merkel a few months back and by "we", she meant the German people.

These three words have quickly made modern history, as they’ve essentially become the tagline surrounding the current refugee discourse, their euphoric sense of possibility clashing with cynical doubt. Much like the reality of the current situation in Germany. 

As European countries are being faced with questions about migration and displacement, it seems they are unearthing larger questions about democracy and what it means to us.

Wir schaffen das. So, how in fact are we doing? Or more specifically, how do we think the German government is handling the refugee crisis? 

And at the end of the day, who should be responsible for making sure that "wir" (we) do succeed? The German government, the UN, the EU, NGOs, you and I?

" Wir schaffen das! But who should be responsible for making sure that "wir" (we) do succeed?"

We wanted to understand how Germans perceive these questions.

To get answers, we teamed up with Dalia Research, a leading mobile research firm. 

For this study, Dalia invited a stratified sample of 1,025 people from Germany to share their opinions. To obtain census-representative results, the data were weighted by key demographic attributes including age, gender and location. 

Key Findings:

  • More than half of those surveyed (59%) agree with the federal government's decision to host refugees. Support is highest among the highly-educated, whereas those who claimed to have "no education" were almost three times more likely to strongly disagree with Germany's decision to host Syrian refugees. 

  • Despite the majority supporting the governments decision to host refugees, 69% of those surveyed feel Germany is taking on a disproportionate amount of responsibility surrounding the current refugee crisis. In particular, older generations (age 41+) proved to err on the conservative side. 

  • When asked whether they were satisfied with Merkel's response, the survey participants were highly divided, with the majority leaning to dissatisfaction or uncertainty. 

  • Regardless of age, nearly 50% of those surveyed felt that we need more political and economic integration in the world and that this can, and should, impact political decision-making. 

  • When asked to choose the most important actor/institution in addressing the refugee crisis, perhaps surprisingly, most people chose the UN (40%), followed by the EU (27%). Only a very small percentage of those surveyed selected national governments and NGOs as key actors in resolving the crisis. 

The Results 

Below you will find the results in more detail. 

More than half of those surveyed (59%) agree with the federal government's decision to host Syrian refugees. 69% of those surveyed feel Germany is taking on a disproportionate amount of responsibility surrounding the current refugee crisis

When asked whether they were satisfied with Merkel's response, the survey participants were highly divided, with the majority erring on dissatisfaction or uncertainty.

The German population is largely in favor of the notion that all European countries should play an active role in hosting refugees. 

Nearly 50% of those surveyed felt that we need more political and economic integration in the world and that this can, and should, impact political decision-making. 

When asked to choose the most important actor/institution in addressing the refugee crisis, perhaps surprisingly, most people chose the UN (40%), followed by the EU (27%). Only a very small percentage thought that state governments, citizens or NGOs should play a key role in supporting refugees. 

The Study 

Dalia Research uses an award-winning mobile sampling technology to carry out studies, currently reaching 40.000 apps and websites across 80 countries worldwide. Using this technology, a sample of 1.025 respondents from Germany was collected. The data was weighted by age, gender, and State of residence (Bundesland) to match the profile of the German population. 

The study was conducted between September 23rd and October 11th, 2015. The survey was conducted in German. 

The first part of the study, which can be found here, focused on the participants' personal opinions concerning the increased number of refugees coming to Germany and what impact this might have on German society. 

The second half of the study focuses on the political response to the refugee crisis. The survey asked participants to evaluate Germany's role in addressing the refugee crisis, versus that of the European Union or United Nations. It also explored German attitudes toward the war in Syria. 

The complete survey, including all the German questions, can be viewed here.

To learn more about Dalia Research and their mobile sampling technology, visit their website

Originally published December 2, 2015

 

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