Research Report: Attitudes towards national identity, immigrants and refugees in Germany
SCI commissioned this report in conjunction with More in Common to provide first of its kind of information on how Germans understand and feel about migration.
“Although many hold mixed views about the potential of successfully integrating refugees into society, Germans remain among the most supportive of immigration in Europe.”
Overall, the data revealed a holistic and nuanced picture of Germany public opinion.
- The German population can be divided into five distinct opinion segments – one segment has welcoming attitudes to immigration (22%), one segment has closed views (17%), while three segments (61%) have conflicting views. The segments differ significantly in their perceptions of German identity, globalisation, and refugee policy.
- Integration is the key to acceptance. If Germans believe that refugees accept the values and rules in Germany and show willingness to integrate, religion and background become less important.
- Immigrants are viewed more positively than refugees. The terms trigger different associations, and refugees are more strongly associated with negative characteristics.
- Lead with messages that build on values of shared humanity, inclusive patriotism and cultural/mutual compact. These messages were perceived as more compelling both in the quantitative and qualitative study.
- Assure the public that the German government is controlling the refugee intake and integration process – possibly by highlighting stories of successful programs and policy..
- Avoid the economic benefit argument – it is highly polarizing. It only reaches the Cosmopolitan and Pragmatist segments; the other segments overwhelmingly reject that immigration is good for the economy.
SCI commissioned additional reports on Italy, France, Republic of Ireland and Greece and provided some support to an analogous survey in the Netherlands. More In Common plan to release a summary report of the Netherlands survey later this year. More In Common conducted similar research and reporting in the United States.
Research of this nature has been undertaken by Hope not Hate, and others, in England and Wales. SCI commissioned a survey in Northern Ireland in 2019 and will release the findings in early 2020.
Migration Narratives toolkit and intro video: