On the issue of refugees, levels of optimism and skepticism vary between former East and West Germany. Views have changed little since the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) published its first survey in the fall of 2015. Pollsters queried around 2,000 respondents in five phone surveys between November 2015 and April 2017 on their experience with refugees and their opinions of the current situation.

Of those polled, 36.7 percent said they are very or mostly sure that Germany can overcome the challenges posed by migration flows. The more doubtful totaled 31.6 percent, a reversal from the first polling in 2015, when the skeptics were in the majority.

Skepticism remains prevalent in the former East, however refugee engagement - meaning people in some way involved in refugee issues - is higher than in the West: 7.7 percent compared to 7.4 percent. "This engagement deserves strong recognition, especially in light of the overriding skepticism among a majority of the population," said Petra-Angela Ahrens, a sociologist who presented the findings. "All in all, people's engagement has remained unbroken."

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