Donald Trump can chalk up another achievement. He is now the thing that Germans fear more than anything on earth, according to the latest annual survey documenting the country’s worries.
The yearly “Fears of the Germans” survey, carried out by insurance company R+V Versicherung, revealed that 69 percent of the population fear that Mr. Trump’s policies are making the world a more dangerous place.
In that respect, they are joining legendary journalist Bob Woodward and the many Americans ready to snap up his forthcoming book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
Mr. Trump nabbed the top spot in German fears after 18 months of attacking the country’s trade surplus, foreign policy and defense spending.
“A majority of people are frightened by Trump’s rabid ‘America First’ policy, his aggression against international agreements and his aggressive trade and security policies, often directed against allies,” said Manfred Schmidt, professor of political science, who has advised the survey for many years.
Domestic politicians also pretty scary
But Germans are also concerned about their own leaders. Fear of incapable politicians came fourth in the survey, with 61 percent of respondents afraid their leaders would be unable to deal with the many crises faced by the country and the world.
This lack of trust in the country’s leadership was underlined by other results. Almost half the respondents rated German politicians’ overall performance as “poor” or “unsatisfactory.” Mr. Schmidt described this finding as “a catastrophic judgment on Germany’s politicians.”
In between, in joint second place, came fears regarding mass migration and social tensions because of existing migrant populations. Some 63 percent of respondents said these issues caused them anxiety.
Food fears top climate change worries
Other issues – including terrorism, climate change, and the Euro crisis – appeared further down the list, as well as more personal fears, like aging, injury and the loss of a partner.
R+V Versicherung, the company which has commissioned the survey every year since 1992, says it allows Germans’ deepest fears to be tracked over time. Fear of terrorism has fallen 59 percent this year, they say, well down on recent levels. The figure leapt up in recent years in the wake of terror attacks in Germany.
In spite of record-breaking heatwaves and an increase in extreme weather events, climate change came relatively low on the list of concerns. Fewer than half of respondents, 48 percent, said they felt very concerned about the effects of global warming, coming behind the 55 percent who said they were worried about harmful substances in the food chain.
The survey was carried out in June and July of this year, using a representative sample of 2,400 people across the country, who answered a total of 21 questions on their political, environmental and personal fears.