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Learning DemocracyDemocratic and Economic Values in Unified Germany$

Robert Rohrschneider

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198295174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198295174.001.0001

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(p.271) Appendix C Questionnaire

(p.271) Appendix C Questionnaire

Learning Democracy
Oxford University Press

Democracy and Political Elites in the United Berlin

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this study. I would like to assure you that I will protect the confidentiality of your answers.

Section I: Political Equality

1. I would like to start by asking you about some of the problems which are currently debated in Berlin. What are the two most important problems in Berlin today? (PROBE IF NEEDED): How would you rank the problems in order of importance?

  1. 1.

  2. 2.

2. One problem in Germany these days concerns the question of what to do with refugees who try to obtain political asylum. What are, in your view, the main sources of tension between some German citizens and asylum seekers?

3. Would you support or oppose the direct involvement of citizens, for example through a referendum, in deciding between different policies concerning asylum seekers?

  1. 1. Support

  2. 2. Depends

  3. 3. Oppose

4. Would you give me the most important reason why you (support/oppose) it? (if response is ‘It depends’): What does it depend upon?

5. Would you please indicate your opinion on the plebiscitarian involvement of citizens by indicating whether you find each of these (show card) procedures involving citizens directly meaningful or not meaningful?

Card 1–5

  1. 1. Meaningful

  2. 2. Not Meaningful

  1. 1. A legally non-binding referendum initiated by the parliament.

  2. 2. A legally non-binding referendum initiated by the executive.

  3. 3. A referendum initiated by a minority in parliament.

  4. 4. A referendum initiated by a majority in parliament.

  5. 5. A referendum initiated by the executive.

  6. 6. A referendum initiated by the people.

(p.272) 6. Are there any gaps in the commitment of East and West Germans to play the proper role of a democratic public? (PROBE, IF NEEDED): What is the proper role of a public in politics?

7. In order to get a picture of the distribution of opinion comparable with earlier studies, I am now using a standardized format to simplify matters a little bit. I am aware that these statements capture your views only incompletely. Nevertheless, would you tell me for each of the statements, whether you agree or disagree?

Card 1–7

  1. A. Every democracy requires a political opposition.

  2. B. It is the primary duty of the political opposition to support the government, and not to criticize it.

  1. B. Every citizen has the right to demonstrate.

  2. C. Freedom of opinion and discussion must be limited by moral and ethical considerations.

  3. E. A citizen forfeits the right to demonstrate and to strike when s/he threatens the political order.

  4. D. The freedom of political propaganda is not an absolute freedom, and the state should carefully regulate its use.

8. The term democracy is frequently used without further specifications these days. What seem to you personally the essentials of a democracy?

Section II: Pluralism

1. You mentioned earlier—— (MIP) as an important problem in Berlin. There are a number of conflicts of interests involved in solving this problem since different groups and people have different conceptions of how to solve the problem Do these conflicts of interests have positive or negative effects on the governability of Berlin? (PROBE, IF NEEDED.) Why? (OR) Why not?

2. Would you please summarize your experience about the scope of conflicts of interests in East and West Berlin by selecting the statement which most accurately reflects your experience? Please separate your evaluation for East and West Berlin.

(p.273) Card 2–2

  1. A. Consensus among social groups is the rule; serious conflicts rarely occur.

  2. B. Consensus is more typical, although there are some serious conflicts.

  3. C. Serious conflict of interest is far more typical, but there is some shared interest.

  4. D. Serious conflict is the rule; there is hardly any shared interest among social groups.

East Berlin

West Berlin

3. Considering your work as a politician and parliamentarian, do conflicts of interests among social groups or among people have a positive or negative influence on your work? (PROBE, IF NEEDED.) In what ways?

4. For comparability, here is again a list with statements concerning the relations among social groups. Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statements, (SHOW CARD.)

Card 2–4

  1. A. To compromise with political adversaries is dangerous because it frequently leads to the betrayal of ones own side.

  2. B. The general welfare and interests of the Federal Republic are seriously endangered by the continual clash of and demands posed by interest groups.

  3. C. Even if one is right in a controversy, one should look for a compromise.

  4. D. It will always be necessary to have a few strong, able individuals who know how to take charge.

  5. E. A country's general welfare should always override the special interests of groups and organizations.

  6. F. An intense discussion or controversy is often necessary in order to arrive at a workable policy compromise.

Section III: Minority Groups

1. I would like to ask you a few questions about social groups and movements which are viewed by some people as threatening to the political and social (p.274) order in the united Germany Would you please select from this list (SHOW CARD) the group or organization that you like the least?

Card 3–1

  1. A. Environmentalists

  2. B. Fascists/extreme right-wing groups/neo-Nazis

  3. C. Lesbians

  4. D. Jews

  5. E. Feminists

  6. G. Sinti/Roma

  7. H. Peace Movement

  8. I. Anti-abortionists

  9. J. Communists/extreme Left-wing groups

  10. K. ‘Expelled’ [Vertriebenenverbände]

  11. L. Pro-choice

  12. M. Turks

  13. N. Homosexuals

  14. O. Other (please specify) ——

—— (1 ST GROUP)

2. What is your second least-liked group?

—— (2 ND GROUP)

3. I would like to know your personal opinion on the following statements regarding the activities of each group. Let us begin with —— (LEAST-LIKED GROUP). Independent of the existing legal framework, would you tell me, how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Card 3–3

  1. A. —— (GROUP) should be allowed to hold demonstrations.

  2. B. Political parties primarily representing —— (GROUP) should be declared unconstitutional.

  3. C. —— (GROUP) should be allowed to teach in schools.

  4. D. —— (GROUP) should not be allowed to appear on television and state their views.

4. Now about—— (2 ND LEAST-LIKED GROUP). how strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

(p.275) Card 3–4

  1. A. —— (GROUP) should be allowed to hold demonstrations.

  2. B. Political parties primarily representing —— (GROUP) should be declared unconstitutional.

  3. C. —— (GROUP) should be allowed to teach in schools.

  4. D. —— (GROUP) should not be allowed to appear on television and state their views.

5. Please evaluate the two groups you selected in terms of the following characteristics (SHOW CARD). Please select a 7 if you feel the characteristics mentioned on the left side is most accurate. A 1 means that you think the characteristics mentioned on the right side is most accurate. The numbers in between can be used to differentiate between these two polar ends. Again, I would like to begin with (LEAST-LIKED GROUP). How would you rate (1 ST GROUP) in terms of the following adjective pairs?

Card 3–5

—— (GROUP)

  1. A. is violent is non-violent

  2. B. is democratic is undemocratic

  3. C. partially employs illegal methods only employs legal methods

6. Would you please rate—— (2 ND LEAST-LIKED GROUP):

Card 3–6

—— (GROUP)

  1. A. is violent is non-violent

  2. B. is democratic is undemocratic

  3. C. partially employs illegal methods only employs legal methods

7. Could you give me the reasons behind your responses? I am particularly interested in why you (SUPPORT/OPPOSE) limiting the political activities of (GROUPS).

(p.276) Section IV: Social Equality

I now would like to ask you a few questions about social and economic issues.

1. What do you personally feel are the major advantages and disadvantages of establishing a social market economy in East Germany? (PROBE, IF NEEDED). Some people argue that socialist economies, despite several limitations, offered certain advantages, such as social security, job security, or greater collegiality at the workplace. How would you evaluate this argument?

2. Here is a list with characteristics (SHOW CARD) which some people find desirable for economic systems. Would you please rank them in order of importance to you.

Card 4–2


A. An ideal economic system should make efficient use of human and material resources.


B. An ideal economic system should minimize differences in living standards as much as possible.


C. In an ideal economic system, all spheres of economic activities are democratized.


D. An ideal economic system should be undisturbed from government regulations as much as possible.


3. On this card is a list with statements regarding the economic system. Would you please tell me how much you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (SHOW CARD).

Card 4–3

  1. A. Social market economies generally lead to acceptable differences in income distribution.

  2. B. The profit motive often brings out the worst in human nature.

  3. C. Democracy is only possible if individuals not only participate in general elections, but can also participate in important management decisions at their workplace.

  4. D. The poor are poor because they often don't make use of available opportunities which the economic system provides.

  5. (p.277) E. The national government should play a greater role in the management of the economy.

  6. F. There are limits to growth beyond which our society cannot expand.

  7. G. Unions should have more power in our society.

  8. H. When private industry is allowed to make as much money as it can, everyone profits in the long run.

Section V: Personal Views

In this last section, I would like to ask a few questions about your work as a parliamentarian and about your personal circumstances.

1. Let me start with your work as a parliamentarian. How often do you meet with MPs from other parties to work out political agreements outside of regular sessions?

Card 5–1

  1. 1. Very often

  2. 2. Often

  3. 3. Occasionally

  4. 4. Rarely

  5. 5. Never

  1. 1. CDU

  2. 2. SPD

  3. 3. PDS

  4. 4. Bündnis '90/Greens (AL)/UFV

  5. 5. FDP

  6. 6. Gruppe Neues Forum/Bürgerbewegung

2. There has been some discussion about the different political cultures in East and West Germany. Considering your contacts with other MPs, how is the different experience with political systems reflected in the behaviour of MPs, from East and West Berlin?

3. Here is another card with statements about political problems, but also about your personal situation. Would you tell me how much you agree or disagree with each statement?

Card 5–3

  1. A. It should be legal to have an abortion within the first three months of a pregnancy.

  2. B. Everything is changing so fast these days so that it is difficult to find firm reference-points.

  3. (p.278) C. If we don't defend ourselves against chaos and troublemakers, our political order will be replaced by disorder and chaos.

  4. D. In order to meet Germany's growing need for energy, one should also use nuclear energy.

  5. E. Stronger measures should be taken to ensure the equality of men and women.

  6. F. Discipline and obedience are essential in educating children into responsible citizenship.

  7. G. In earlier days, people were better off because they knew what their duties were.

  8. H. Every foreigner who would like to live in Germany should be welcome.

  9. I. Everything is so uncertain these days that one has to be ready for anything

4. Here is a list with important political institutions in our society. Would you tell me how much trust you have in each of the institutions?

Card 5–4

  1. A. Courts

  2. B. Constitution

  3. C. Federal parliament

  4. D. Bureaucracy

  5. E. Executive

5. There has been a discussion recently on how to treat former employees of the state security police (Mf S). Would you please indicate for each statement listed on this card whether you support or oppose it?

Card 5–5

  1. 1. Support

  2. 2. Oppose

  1. 1. All former employees should be granted a general amnesty.

  2. 2. Only employees at middle and lower levels should be granted an amnesty.

  3. 3. Each case should be investigated individually.

  4. 4. None of the former Mf S employees should receive an amnesty.

  5. 5. The leadership of the Mf S should be penalized through an international tribunal.

6. In a number of studies, people have been asked to place themselves on a (p.279) left-right scale indicating their overall political position (SHOW CARD). For purposes of comparison, would you please tell me where you would place your views on this scale?

Card 5–6

7. And in terms of the general political orientations of your political party in Berlin where would you locate it on this same left-right scale?

Card 5–7

8. There is a lot of talk these days about what the aims of this country should be for the next ten years. On this card (SHOW CARD) are listed some of the goals which different people would give top priority. Would you please say which of these you, yourself, would consider the most important, and which would be your second choice?

Card 5–8


A. Maintaining order in the nation.


B. Giving people more say in important government decisions.


C. Fighting rising prices.


D. Protecting freedom of speech.


9. On the whole, are you very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied, or not at all satisfied with the way democracy works in Germany?

  1. 1. Very

  2. 2. Fairly

  3. 3. Not Very

  4. 4. Not at all

10. If you compare your financial situation today with that one year ago, are you better off, about the same, or worse off?

  1. 1. Better off

  2. 2. About the same

  3. 3. Worse off

11. In a few years, do you think that you will be better off, about the same, or worse off?

  1. 1. Better off

  2. 2. About the same

  3. 3. Worse off

12. Which denomination do you belong to?

(p.280) 13. How often do you attend church? Would you say:

Card 5–13

  1. 1. At least every Sunday

  2. 2. Almost every Sunday

  3. 3. Sometimes

  4. 4. Once a year

  5. 5. Less than once a year

  6. 6. Never

14. Between 1949 and 1989, did you live anywhere other than in (WEST/EAST) Germany?

  1. 1. No

  2. 2. Yes (PROBE) Where and for how long?

15. Would you please tell me which category best reflects your monthly income?

  1. 1. Above DM 10,000

  2. 2. DM 8,000–9,999

  3. 3. DM 6,000–7,999

  4. 4. DM 4,000–5,999

  5. 5. Below DM 4,000

16. What is the highest degree your father and mother obtained?

Thank you for participating in the study.

(Information about MPs' socio-demographic background was obtained from the handbook of parliamentarians published by the Berlin parliament.)