1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany: Mounting concern over Ukraine and Gaza

March 8, 2024

To what extent is Germany becoming a target for Russia? What will happen in the Middle East? A monthly survey shows: Voters are increasingly worried.

Tornado fighter jet carrying a Taurus missile
A majority of respondents in the Deutschlandtrend poll support Chancellor Scholz's refusal to provide Taurus missiles for UkraineImage: Andrea Bienert/Bundeswehr/dpa/picture alliance

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is standing firm: He continues to reject the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. "I am the Chancellor and that's why my word counts," he said at a town hall meeting with students in response to a question on the matter. Scholz fears that the missiles could be fired at targets inside Russia and that Germany could be drawn into the war. After all, the Taurus has a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles).

The chancellor's stance is being met with criticism from the opposition center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and also from his own coalition partners, the Greens and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP). FDP lawmakers have threatened to vote with the opposition CDU/CSU if the issue of Taurus deliveries is again on the agenda in the federal parliament, the Bundestag, next week.

But what do German voters actually think about this? The pollster infratest-dimap surveyed 1288 eligible voters on the matter from March 4 to 6.

The majority of supporters of the CDU/CSU but also of Chancellor Scholz's center-left Social Democrats (SPD) said they support the chancellor's position. Among Green Party and FDP supporters there is a narrow majority in favor of Taurus deliveries. Supporters of the far-right populist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) and the newly founded Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW) are strictly opposed to weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

Why is Germany ruling out Taurus delivery to Ukraine?

More money for the Bundeswehr

The survey was conducted after Russian President Vladimir Putin once again threatened the West in his State of the Nation address. Six out of 10 voters polled said they fear that Germany could be drawn directly into the war and also that the threat of Russian attacks on other European countries has not been averted.

Three out of four respondents approve of the German government's decision to permanently spend at least 2% of GDP on defense, which is significantly more than before Russia's full-fledged invasion of Ukraine. 

Last weekend, Russia leaked a wiretapped conversation between high-ranking Bundeswehr officers. A majority of voters polled now fear that Germany is increasingly becoming the target of Russian espionage, and is not adequately prepared to avert this. 85% feel that Russia is not a country that should be trusted. 

Infratest-dimap regularly poses the question which countries are seen as good partners for Germany. The latest poll shows that trust in Germany's traditional partners France and the United States has fallen.

German defense minister: Russia running 'information war'

Criticism of Israel is mounting

Since last October's terrorist attack by Hamas, German voters have expressed concern over developments in the Middle East. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, Israel and other states. In view of the dramatically escalating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, criticism of Israel is mounting in Germany.

When asked whether Israel's military response was appropriate, 50% of the eligible voters surveyed by infratest-dimap said "no." That is 9% more than in November 2023. 

Six out of 10 respondents questioned whether military action against Hamas is justified even if the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip is also affected.

Almost three-quarters of respondents still see Hamas as responsible for the situation on the ground. However, a growing number (62%) also assign responsibility to Israel.

Germany's center-left government remains unpopular

The monthly Deutschlandtrend poll figures on party support have remained mostly unchanged for the past few months: Four out of five respondents say they are dissatisfied with the government's performance.

If general elections were held next Sunday, the SPD, Greens and FDP, who together form the ruling coalition, would no longer have a majority. The CDU/CSU remains the strongest force at just under 30%, followed by the AfD at 19%.  The Left Party would fail to reach the 5% required for parliamentary representation, and the BSW (Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht) would get 6% of the vote and enter the Bundestag for the first time.

This article was originally written in German.

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.