More than half of Germans surveyed think that democracy in their country is under threat by the rise of right-wing extremism, according to a recent YouGov poll.
YouGov Germany interviewed 2,020 people from August 22 to September 1 in the representative study, which was carried out ahead of the International Day of Democracy on Sept. 15. The study revealed that 15. 53% of respondents agreed with the statement that democracy is in danger, the results of the survey – released yesterday – found. It was supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party who most feared for democracy, at 79% in that group.
Right-wing extremists topped the list of perceived threats to democracy at 47%, following by right-wing populists and migrants in joint-second place at 27%. Left-wing extremism and the U.S. were also causes for concern, with 22% of participants in the survey seeing those factors as threats.
The estimated number of active right-wing extremists in Germany has reached 24,100, up 100 from last year, and the highest number in recent history, according to figures released by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in Berlin in June. The assassination-style murder of a pro-migrant Christian Democrat politician, Walter Luebcke, by a far-right extremist has raised fears of growing neo-Nazi terrorism in the country. Luebcke's murder has revived a debate about whether Germany is doing enough to combat far-right groups, after the chance discovery in 2011 of a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose members murdered eight Turks, a Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007. The survey also found that some 66% believe the state is too lenient when it comes to dealing with Nazis and far-right extremists.