The head of the Leipziger Autoritarismus-Studie [Leipzig authoritarianism study] Oliver Decker, said on Wednesday: “Xenophobia is increasingly widespread throughout the country, which is shown very clearly by our current survey.”
The statement that foreigners only come into the country to take advantage of the welfare state, was met with approval by some 36 percent, according to the long-term survey, which was previously published under the name Mitte-Studie der Universität Leipzig.
Almost every second person agreed with this notion in Germany’s eastern states.
More than a quarter of German respondents would send foreigners back to their homeland if jobs become scarce, and around 36 percent of respondents consider the Federal Republic in danger of being overrun by foreigners.
“We’re seeing high levels of approval for the attitude that research sees as a ‘gateway drug’ to right-wing extremism: the inhibition threshold to agree with these extreme-right statements is particularly low,” Decker told the media.
He has served as director of the Kompetenzzentrums für Rechtsextremismus- und Demokratieforschung [Research Centre for Right-Wing Extremistism and Democracy] at the University of Leipzig.
Study author Elmar Brähler stated: “Those who are right-wing extremists turn away from the CDU and the SPD today and have found their new home in the AfD.” Compared to the most recent survey from two years ago, “xenophobia” is on the increase, he says.
Some of the “scientists” claim authoritarianism is a personality trait which is one of the main causes of right-wing extremist attitudes. “Authoritarian-minded people tend to have rigid ideologies that allow them to simultaneously submit to authority, participate in their power, and demand the devaluation of others in the name of that order,” the researchers said.
About 40 percent of Germans show signs of an authoritarian type, and only 30 percent are expressly democratically oriented, they claim.
The study was supported by the Greens-friendly Heinrich Böll and the Otto Brenner Foundations, which belongs to the union of IG Metall.
Critics have meanwhile criticised the suggestive questions and dubious deductions from the answers.