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IMAGO / Christian Ohde

Monitor Election and Social Research

No state, my rules

Representative survey on the prevalence of Reichsbürger-affine attitudes in the German population

Our study shows how widespread a closeness to the ideas of the so-called Reich Citizens movement is among the German population and what characterises the group of people who have an affinity to the Reich Citizens. How is the acceptance of state rules and to what extent is violence accepted? Which party supporters stand out? The analysis of representative survey data and qualitative in-depth interviews shed light on these questions.

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At the latest since the nationwide raid against the so-called Reichsbürger scene on 7 December 2022, during which advanced plans for a coup and a considerable arsenal of weapons were found, Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) have been perceived by the public as a new threat to democracy. The focus of this analysis is how widespread Reichsbürger-affine attitudes are in society and which groups are more likely to be close to ideas of the Reich Citizens Movement. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation has measured these potentials in a study on the topic of diversity of opinion in an open society. Other attitudes, for example on trust in institutions or populist statements, can provide information on the characteristics of the Reichsbürger-affine group. Furthermore, clear differences in Reichsbürger- and populism-affiliated attitudes can be seen in the different party supporters.

Some key findings of our study are:

  • Attitudes with an affinity to ideas of the Reich Citizens Movement are widespread at a low level (5 percent). AfD supporters have an above-average level of support.
  • The AfD supporters also have higher approval ratings for other statements based on conspiracy theories as well as xenophobic or populist attitudes. This clearly distinguishes AfD supporters from all other party supporters. 
  • Reichsbürger-affiliated people more often live by their own rules and ignore those of the state. In addition, the group is characterised by a very low level of trust in the government, the Bundestag and the public media. A large majority of those with an affinity to the Reichsbürger ideas believe that secret powers control the world. In addition, overlaps with right-wing extremism are evident. 
  • Among persons with an affinity to Reich Citizens, there is a significantly higher potential for violence compared to the population average. The number of potential threats with a Reichsbürger background could therefore be higher than previously suspected.

Read the entire study “No state, my rules.” here as PDF.

Please note, to date the study is only available in German.


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Dominik Hirndorf

Dominik Hirndorf

Electoral and Social Research +49 30 26996-3858


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About this series

The publications of the Election and Social Research Monitor are part of our Monitor publication series. The Monitor series deals with one main topic at a time from the perspective of KAS experts and places it in the political and social context on the basis of a few key points.