Confidence in the German state rises significantly

Confidence in the German state rises significantly

While there has been much talk of a “crisis of confidence” in German state institutions in recent years, it seems that the coronavirus pandemic has revived public belief in the government’s ability to act. That’s the finding of a recent study, which revealed that the German population’s confidence in political institutions has risen sharply. 

Coronavirus crisis sees trust in German state soar

The coronavirus crisis has apparently brought back trust in the state among the population of Germany. This is the finding of a new survey conducted by Forsa, an opinion research institute, on behalf of the German Association of Civil Servants (dbb). 

The dbb’s annual public survey found that the proportion of people who consider the state to be fully capable of carrying out its tasks had increased by 22 percentage points - from 34 percent last year, to 56 percent in 2020. At the same time, 40 percent of respondents said that the German public sector was overwhelmed with problems. In 2019, a clear majority of respondents (61 percent) were of this opinion. 

The way in which federal, state and local governments are dealing with the pandemic therefore seems to have reversed a trend that has been shaping up over the past few years: the slow decline of trust in political institutions. 

dbb chairperson Ulrich Silberbach primarily attributed the trend to the state’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. “I believe that society will emerge from the crisis more stable,” he told the dpa. “The vast majority of people state that this government is helping to ensure security, health, growth and good cooperation in this country.” 

Confidence equal across eastern and western Germany

What is striking about the results is that there is no longer any significant difference between eastern and western Germany when it comes to belief in the state’s ability to act; in the east, confidence is actually one percentage point higher than in the west. Trust is also distributed evenly between various age groups; only 45 to 59-year-olds stand out with their particularly high level of trust (59 percent). 

As in previous years, the survey results show a direct correlation between education and levels of trust. Only 44 percent of those with a high school diploma expressed confidence in state institutions, compared to 69 percent of those who had completed an Abitur or attended university

Among different political parties, trust levels are highest among SPD and Greens supporters (both 69 percent), closely followed by supporters of the CDU / CSU (67 percent) and the FDP (55 percent). The majority of supporters of the Left (57 percent) and the AfD (91 percent), on the other hand, consider the state to be overwhelmed. 

When it comes to the question of which tasks the state is overwhelmed with, schools and education policy rank top with 22 percent, but concern about the refugee crisis follows closely on 20 percent. Issues connected with social security, pensions and healthcare were also high up on the list of concerns. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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