The majority of Germans believe that Chancellor Angela Merkel staying away from the football World Cup in Russia would be the wrong choice, according to broadcaster ARD's Deutschlandtrend survey. Some 69 percent of Germans think that the country's leader should be there to support their team as make their bid for back-to-back victories.
Read more: World Cup: The Russia bind facing Angela Merkel, other leaders
About 26 percent of respondents, however, said they thought it would be appropriate to stay away, considering the widespread condemnation of the Russian government on matters ranging from press freedom to human rights to the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Instead, most (59 percent) of Germans said, economic sanctions were much more reasonable for making a political point.
On whether or not FIFA should have chosen Russia as the host nation, Germans were almost exactly split. 45 percent said they agreed with the decision, while 42 argued that it was not. This shows that there has perhaps been a softening of attitudes toward Russia since the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, when 57 percent said it was wrong to award hosting duties to Russia.
Chancellor Merkel has not yet confirmed if she will attend a Germany game later in the tournament, for now leaving the possibility open.
Germans want more dialogue with Russia
The wide-ranging survey, carried out by research firm Infratest dimap, also showed that nearly all Germans are in favor of more dialogue with Russia, though they think both sides must show willingness for this. Ninety-three percent of the over 1,000 participants said Russia should work harder at rapprochement with the West, while 88 percent said the West should also do the same. Notably, there was no significant difference in attitude between states in the former communist East Germany and former West Germany.
Each week, the survey also attempts to take a look at the country's political mood by asking which party the nation would vote for if federal elections were held the coming Sunday. On this front, most parties have remained at about the same levels of popularity they garnered at the polls last September, which Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) still in a not-impressive lead of 31 percent support. The only party that has increased since May is the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which reached 15 percent for the first time.
Skepticism for Trump-Kim accord
Germans were also asked their opinion about the recent meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and whether they thoughty anything would come of the joint agreement the two signed.
Across the board and regardless of political affiliation, Germans were extremely skeptical of the accord. 49 percent that it was "probably unlikely," that anything would change, and 23 percent said it was "very unlikely."
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