Prominent members of German mainstream parties have expressed alarm at the recent surge in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), according to a new poll. The DeutschlandTrend survey, conducted by infratest dimap for public broadcaster ARD and released on Thursday. Reveals that voter support for AfD has reached a record high of 18%. This places them on par with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, whose support stands at the same percentage. In comparison, during the 2021 election, the Social Democrats received 25.7% of the vote, while AfD secured 10.3%.
The results of the poll have triggered concerns among politicians from mainstream parties in Germany. Norbert Roettgen, a senior lawmaker for the main opposition Christian Democrats, referred to the situation as a “disaster”. Emphasized that it should serve as an alarm signal for all centre-aligned parties. According to the survey, Roettgen’s party currently holds a support rating of 29%. He called for introspection within his own centre-right party, urging them to reflect on why they have not been able to capitalize on voters’ discontent with the current government.
Another member of the Christian Democrats, Serap Guler, highlighted the significance of the strong support for AfD and stated that it should be a cause for concern for all democratic parties in Germany. The poll surveyed 1,302 voters from May 30-31 and has a margin of error of up to 3 percentage points.
“Mainstream Parties Express Urgency to Counter Rising Support for far-right Alternative for Germany”
Following the release of the DeutschlandTrend survey, which indicates a record-high support of 18% for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), prominent members of mainstream German parties have voiced their concern and called for swift action.
Serap Guler, a member of the Christian Democrats, emphasized the responsibility to address this situation promptly, stating, “We bear responsibility for changing this again quickly.” The previous instance when AfD reached 18% in the survey was in September 2018 during a period of discord within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government, comprised of the Social Democrats, the environmentalist Greens, and the libertarian Free Democrats, has recently faced significant opposition. Controversies surrounding high immigration, a plan to replace millions of home heating systems, and Germany’s military support for Ukraine’s defence against the Russian invasion have contributed to public discontent. While there is majority support for the government’s stance on Ukraine, a substantial portion of the populace opposes it.
The rise in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany
The AfD and its affiliated groups have come under scrutiny from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, BfV, due to their connections to extremists. The agency’s head recently warned of “astonishing parallels” between the current situation and the rise of political extremism and authoritarianism in the 1920s and 1930s, which eventually led to the Nazi dictatorship. In the poll, about two-thirds of AfD supporters indicated that they were protesting against other parties rather than being convinced by the far-right’s policies.
Nonetheless, AfD has a chance to win in three state elections in eastern Germany next year, potentially placing mainstream parties in the awkward position of having to form a broad coalition against the strongest party. Reacting to the poll results, Sawsan Chebli, a member of the Social Democrats, expressed her concern on Twitter, urging people to wake up: “The AfD is at 18 percent. People, wake the hell up!”