A German Donald Trump? Likelier than you might think

07/11/2016

In the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, we took the opportunity to question the German population on Hillary vs. Donald. The results were quite surprising.

Donald Trump is not a popular man in Germany. In fact, over six times more Germans would vote for Hillary Clinton than him, could they do so. Were a real election to end this way, it would be a landslide of almost unprecedented proportions. But the fact that Europeans loathe Trump would surprise few; one need only look at the overwhelmingly negative media coverage he has received in Europe to gain a flavour of how he is perceived here.

A similarly small number (17%) of Germans think a Donald Trump-style politician could succeed in Germany. But while disapproval for the man himself is overwhelming, more support his flagship policies than might be expected. 34% think that Germany should take as few immigrants as possible, and only 49% support unrestricted abortion of early-stage pregnancies.

One might conclude that it is Trump’s style that puts Germans off the most. After all, it is both aggressive and tailored to a very different culture. But should a German ‘Donald Trump’ arise with a bit more political savvy and a less adversarial style, there appear to be chances of him finding support.

While the dangers of political populism are still fresh in Germans’ minds, the rise of the AfD has shown that populism in the 21st century has a very different face. Such parties employ reasonable language at odds with Trump’s style, but advocate policies not too dissimilar to his own. A nicer, more European Trump might be the stuff of nightmares, but it’s not outlandish to wonder whether it could become reality.

For the survey we polled 4,683 smartphone-owning Germans on their attitudes to Trump. Political surveys are not usually our focus here at Locarta, but our technology allows us to run ad-hoc polls quickly. Two days after first deciding to run the survey, we had our data.

When we’re not spending our time worrying about the trumpocalypse, we occupy ourselves with location analytics. We process the anonymised location data of 40,000 users that have agreed to share their data with us, and identify trends and patterns in people’s movements. This allows us to work out which stores are popular and for what reasons, for example.

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