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More Germans Perceive Improving Economic Conditions

by Cynthia English

Despite gains, a majority still said economy getting worse

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Germany's leadership continues to debate the best way to stimulate the country's struggling economy, Gallup finds the number of Germans who perceive economic conditions in their country as getting better more than doubled in the late third and early fourth quarters of last year, although a majority still said the economy was getting worse.


Gallup surveyed in Germany in late September through mid-October 2009 and found 58% of Germans saying that economic conditions were getting worse -- down 16 percentage points from the 74% who said the same about 10 months before. More than one-third (35%) said the economy was getting better -- a difference of 19 points from the previous survey in late 2008/early 2009.

Confidence in Banks Remains Stable Since Crisis

Germans have expressed less confidence in their financial institutions since the global financial crisis, even after the German government approved a rescue package for the country's financial sector in October 2008. In both surveys conducted since the crisis, roughly 4 in 10 Germans expressed confidence in these institutions compared to 54% in July 2008.


When Germans were asked in the most recent survey about support for government intervention when businesses and financial institutions have problems, respondents were divided. Forty-six percent of Germans said the government should help businesses and financial institutions in times of financial difficulty, while 47% disagreed.


Views of German Leadership

The German government is currently evaluating the best fiscal policies to implement to strengthen the country's economy. Gallup data collected a few months ago indicate that a majority of Germans approved of the job performance of their country's leadership; however, controversy over unpopular tax cuts and recent angst within Germany's coalition government could affect this rating. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was re-elected to a second four-year-term in September 2009, received the approval of two-thirds of Germans, up eight points from late 2008/early 2009. A majority of Germans (59%) also approved of the job performance of country's leadership in general. Germans who perceive the economy as improving were much more likely to be approving of their country's government. Those who said the economy is getting better were 28 points more likely to say they approved of their country's leadership and to say they approved of Merkel than those who said the economy is getting worse.


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Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in December 2006-January 2007, December 2008-January 2009, July 2008, and September-October 2009 in Germany. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.1 percentage points in 2007, ±3.7-3.8 percentage points in 2008, and ±3.5 percentage points in 2009. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


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