Three out of five Austrians
want a "strong man" to lead the country and two out of five think things were not all bad under Adolf Hitler,
according to a survey released on Friday.
Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary next week of Austria's
annexation by Nazi Germany,
the Market Institut poll for newspaper Der Standard
found 61% of respondents, mostly the elderly - liked the idea of a strong man as leader.
That was more than in previous polls. One in 2008 found just a fifth of Austrians could imagine having "a strong leader who does not have to worry about a parliament or elections", the paper said.
Many Austrians wanted a union, or Anschluss,
with Germany in 1938, but several maintained for decades afterwards that their country was Hitler's first victim despite the cheering crowds that greeted the Nazi leader.
A few Austrians put up resistance that grew over time.
In the latest poll, 53% thought the "Anschluss" was voluntary and 46% saw Austria as a victim.
Only 15% of the 502 people surveyed thought Austria should have fought annexation, while 42% thought a war with Germany would have made matters worse and 43% said it would have made no difference.
An impressive 42% said "not everything was bad under Hitler" while 57% saw no good aspects to the Hitler era.
The poll suggests Austria's centrist coalition of Social Democrats and conservatives faces a substantial proportion of voters skeptical about the democratic principles the neutral country has espoused since World War Two.
Polls show right-wing parties are poised to do well in elections due by September, although the coalition parties remain in the lead.