The Impact of the “Sarrazin Debate” on the German Public’s Views on Immigration
In the late summer of 2010, the comparatively moderate German debate on the issue of migration suddenly gained great momentum when the book Deutschland schafft sich ab (the title may be translated into “Germany abolishes itself”) was published, written by the now former board member of the German Federal Bank, Thilo Sarrazin. Throughout the book, the author criticizes the allegedly adverse effects of immigration on German culture, economy, demography, and criminal behavior, as well as Muslim migrants’ supposed failure to integrate.
In this paper, the authors use data from the Transatlantic Trends: Immigration (TTI) survey in order to analyze if and to what extent the heated German debate about this book had an impact on migration-related attitudes. Fieldwork for TTI 2010 started by chance almost simultaneous with the pre-release of the book, a unique opportunity for those who are interested in the impact of the media on public opinion. In order to also grasp medium-term changes, a second wave of data collection in Germany was completed about two months after the first wave was finished. This second wave of data collection is also analyzed here.