Seventy-two percent of Germans would take the vaccine
Freiburg political scientists Prof. Dr. Uwe Wagschal and Dr. Sebastian Jäckle together with colleagues from Stuttgart have conducted an online survey of more than 5,700 people throughout Germany on their experiences and attitudes during the corona pandemic. This third round of the survey ran from 4-15 February 2021; in May and November 2020 over 7,500 people completed the questionnaire.
This time, participants were asked for the first time about their willingness to receive the vaccine, and 72 percent of those surveyed stated that they would be vaccinated, seven percent were undecided. By contrast 18 percent reject the vaccination. Significant differences between followers of different political parties were revealed: while more than 90 percent of the conservative CDU/CSU, the center-left party SPD, and Green supporters were willing to be vaccinated, it was only 80 percent for followers of the socialist party Die Linke, and 66 percent for the liberal FDP. Willingness plummeted with AfD (the nationalist party) voters, with only 20 percent stating they would accept the vaccine. “Supporters of the two protest movements ‘WIR2020’ and ‘Die Basis’ categorically reject vaccination,” says Wagschal.
Opinions also differed as to whether the coronavirus measures were excessive depending on the party people voted for: CDU/CSU and SPD supporters have been clearly and consistently in favor of the coronavirus measures over the entire timeframe of the survey since May 2020. “Interestingly, Green party followers now are even less likely to find the measures excessive than those from the CDU/CSU and SPD, even though they are in the national opposition,” says Wagschal. Only ten percent of Green voters believe the measures are excessive. Amongst AfD voters an increase can be seen over the three rounds of the survey: while barely 71 percent thought the measures were overdone in May 2020, now it is around 81 percent. “The clear polarization in society in relation to the question of coronavirus measures can be seen most of all in the two protest movements ‘Widerstand 2020’ and ‘Die Basis’,” says Uwe Wagschal.
In answer to the question of what measures government agencies should be entitled to use to control the coronavirus pandemic, approval of restrictive measures has risen almost without exception since November and in some cases values are higher than in the first round of the survey in May 2020. This change is especially evident in participants’ attitudes to the closure of schools and kindergartens: approval for this has doubled since November. Moreover, the vast majority of those surveyed are against individuals deciding entirely independently about how to cope with the coronavirus. This attitude has strengthened steadily across the three rounds of the survey, although there are marked differences depending on voting preferences here too.
As in the previous surveys, participants’ greatest fear is that they or those close to them may fall ill. Just over half of those surveyed believe the coronavirus measures are appropriate to gain control of the health consequences of the pandemic. In comparison to May 2020 this means that ten percent fewer people are convinced about the measures. On the other hand, the share of people who are only partially convinced about the health measures that have been taken has grown and is over 22 percent. Survey respondents are far more skeptical about the question of whether the measures are appropriate to gain control of the economic consequences of the pandemic, with only around 32 percent believing they are.
The stress experienced as a result of the pandemic has increased since May 2020. While some people felt little or no stress back in the first wave, the researchers report this number has shrunk.
The researchers weight the participants’ data using the sociodemographic characteristics of age, gender and residence in the former East or West Germany, and adjust it to the real distribution in the population. This makes it possible to make statements with regard to these factors that can be generalized to cover the entire electorate.
Survey results: http://www.politikpanel.uni-freiburg.de
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Politikpanel Deutschland is an online survey run by the University of Freiburg headed by Prof. Dr. Uwe Wagschal from the Department of Political Science, and has taken place at irregular intervals since the 2017 Bundestag elections.
Prof. Dr. Uwe Wagschal
Department of Political Science
University of Freiburg
Tel. +49 761 203-9361