Mixed opinion on a full embargo on Russian energy: a good half of Germans in favour / Representative survey with 3251 participants
A narrow majority of Germans is in favour of an immediate full embargo on Russian energy. That is the result of a representative survey in the political sciences conducted by Dr. Bruno Castanho Silva and Jens Wäckerle, associated researchers at the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute at the University of Cologne, and Dr. Christopher Wratil (University of Vienna). The study has been published in advance as an ECONtribute Discussion Paper.
The researchers asked 3251 Germans on their opinion on a complete embargo of Russian energy. The result: 52 per cent of respondents voted ’definitely yes’ or ’rather yes’, while 40 per cent opposed an embargo. Support is the highest among Green Party voters, with almost 80 per cent, followed by those of the Social Democratic Party. Among the coalition partners, the least in favour are voters of the FDP, the party of economic liberalism, with around 45 per cent.
Using differently framed questions, the researchers investigated factors on which approval depends. The most decisive factor: the opinions of others. If the respondents are told a majority of Germans rejects an embargo, they themselves were more likely to vote against it, and vice versa. In addition, how the economic costs are presented shapes opinions. If given factual information about the expected GDP decline, more people are in favour of an embargo. "Since the average approval is around 50 per cent, how economic forecasts are framed can change public majorities," said Bruno Castanho Silva, a researcher at ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence at the University of Cologne. At the same time, he adds, the wording of politicians can also strongly influence public opinion. According to the study, the level of energy subsidies, a possible early end to the war or Germany’s historical responsibility do not play a significant role in how participants decide.
ECONtribute is the only Cluster of Excellence in economics funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), supported by the Universities of Bonn and Cologne. The Cluster conducts research on markets at the intersections of business, policy, and society. With a new approach to markets, it analyses market failures in times of social, technological and economic challenges, including inequality, global financial crises, and digitalization.
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