SINUS study on right-wing extremism

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The SINUS study was a survey on right-wing extremist ideas in West Germany, commissioned by Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1980, compiled by the Nowak and Sörgel Institute of Social Sciences and published in the following year with a foreword by political scientist Martin Greiffenhagen in the Rowohlt Verlag . The study was the first of its kind in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Sinus Study has been continued at the University of Leipzig since 2002, initially as part of a medical-sociological BMBF project .


7,000 eligible voters were interviewed. The Sinus study indicated that 13 percent or more of the West German population had a “cohesive right-wing extremist worldview”. Around every second in this group also found violence to be an effective means of enforcing this. A further 37 percent are immune to anti-Semitism, militarism and the cult of the leader, but are nevertheless susceptible to “right-wing extremist ideas”. The conservatives in particular have made right-wing radical ideas “socially acceptable”.

Definition: "closed right-wing extremist worldview"

The Sinus study looked at six components which, taken together, would result in a right-wing extremist attitude pattern:

  • Authoritarianism , d. H. the willingness to voluntarily submit to a stronger one
  • Nationalism , d. H. the overemphasis on one's own nation and the devaluation of others
  • Xenophobia , d. H. the devaluation, disadvantage, exclusion of other ethnic groups
  • Prosperity chauvinism , d. H. discrimination against people for socio-economic motives
  • Anti-Semitism , d. H. Hostility towards Jews
  • Pronazism , d. H. Playing down or justifying National Socialism


This finding was explained not only with the persistence of National Socialist ideas, but also with the reference to the fact that in times of rapid economic, social and political change there are always groups that are overwhelmed by developments and react to it with simple and authoritarian thought patterns.


  • Martin Greiffenhagen: 5 million Germans: "We should have a leader again ..." The SINUS study on right-wing extremist attitudes among Germans . Reinbek near Hamburg 1981, ISBN 978-3499149290

Individual evidence

  1. ( Memento from February 26, 2005 in the Internet Archive )