A new opinion poll has found that half of all Germans are in favor of taking in more refugees. The figure varied widely between supporters of parties on the left and right of the political spectrum.
The opinion poll conducted for ARD public television and released on Friday found that 50 percent of the Germans questioned were in favor of the country accepting more refugees. Forty-four percent of those asked in the survey, conducted by the Infratest dimap polling company, said they were opposed to the idea.
The poll also found a wide gulf between supporters of the environmentally friendly Green Party and the euroskeptic, right-of-center Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. While 74 percent of those who identified themselves as Green supporters expressed support for taking in more refugees, 82 percent of AfD voters said they were opposed.
There was broad agreement, though, that the German government should spend more to improve the situation on the ground in countries that people feel forced to flee. A whopping 81 percent of those asked said they supported the idea.
Asked whether legal routes should be created to allow for immigration into Europe, 70 percent of those asked said this was a good idea, while 27 percent were opposed.
Sixty-two percent said they favored injecting increased funds to deploy more rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea, while 34 percent opposed the idea.
Around two-thirds of Germans (63 percent), said they opposed the idea of setting up blockades at sea for ships carrying would-be migrants, as the Australian authorities have done, while 32 percent thought this was a prudent course of action.
One thousand German citizen took part in the survey, which was conducted between April 20 and April 22.
The poll comes at a time when the issue of migration has risen to the top of the European political agenda after an incident last weekend when an estimated 800 people died when their vessel capsized in the Mediterranean Sea as they were trying to reach European shores.
EU leaders meeting in an emergency summit in Brussels on Thursday agreed on a series of measures aimed at curbing the numbers of migrants dying in desperate bids to cross the Mediterranean. More than 1,700 people are believed to have died trying to make the voyage this year alone.
pfd/kms (dpa, EPD, Reuters)