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Traffic light rage, Ukraine, inflation: That's why the AfD is currently stronger than ever


Highlights: The AfD is reaching record levels in polls, while the traffic light is more unpopular than ever before. Are the two related? Why are the right so strong at the moment? Every month, more members join the AfD, around 500 in April and May alone. CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja attributed AfD's success as a whole to the "leaderless chaos policy" of the federal government. But the Union also has a role to play, according to the Left Party's deputy leader.

The popularity ratings of the traffic light around Robert Habeck and Olaf Scholz are in the basement. The AfD is benefiting. © Michael Kappeler/picture alliance/dpa//Screenshot ARD (Montage/as)

The AfD is reaching record levels in polls, while the traffic light is more unpopular than ever before. Are the two related? Why are the right so strong at the moment?

Munich – If the Bundestag elections were held on Sunday, almost one in five would vote for the AfD. According to current polls, the right-wing populists are at 18 to 19 percent. On a par with the chancellor's party, the SPD, well ahead of the Greens. The AfD is the strongest force in three eastern German states, where important elections will take place next year. In addition, according to information, the number of members is increasing. Every month, more members join the AfD, around 500 in April and May alone. There is no single reason, but several factors play a role. An attempt at an explanation.

Dissatisfaction with the traffic light

According to surveys, the majority of the population is critical of the traffic light work. Satisfaction with the Scholz government recently even fell to an all-time low. 79 percent are less or not at all satisfied with the traffic lights. CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja attributed the AfD's success as a whole to the "leaderless chaos policy" of the federal government, while party colleague Philipp Amthor attributed it to the "terrible federal government". But the Union also has a role to play. "The so-called center opens up the space to the right by adopting parts of the positions," criticized Ates Gürpinar, deputy leader of the Left Party, in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau.

New heating law and anger at the Greens

Above all, in the wrangling over the heating law, citizens lack a clear view, according to surveys. The architect of the law, Robert Habeck, was particularly in trouble. "For the AfD, Habeck is the new Merkel," said political consultant Johannes Hillje on ntv. " Habeck is the new central enemy of the AfD." And probably also from their supporters. In social media groups close to the AfD, buzzwords such as "woke delusion" and "green re-education" are used.

Disappointment with "politics"

In any case, many AfD supporters seem frustrated by the political actors in the country. In the ARD Germany trend, 67 percent of AfD sympathizers said they would vote for the party because they are "disappointed with the other parties." A third is therefore "convinced of the AfD". In other words, the self-proclaimed Alternative for Germany benefits less from its own programme than from the poor approval ratings of the others.

Migration policy

The number of refugees to Germany has risen recently, and some municipalities are facing major burdens. For months, they demanded more money from the federal government before a refugee summit under the direction of Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) caused disillusionment. Although there is financial support, the municipalities were still disappointed and not taken seriously. The AfD benefits from the unfavorable image that the traffic light gives on the migration issue. Migration is a core issue for right-wing populists – and their voters. 65 percent said in the "Deutschlandtrend" that they would opt for the AfD because of migration policy. Energy and climate policy (47 percent) and the economy (43 percent) follow at some distance. So it's also about inflation.


"The worse Germany is doing, the better for the AfD." This sentence comes from former AfD press spokesman Christian Lüth. The population feels the effects of the war (including the aftermath of Corona) in their wallets every day. So far, the German government has not found a concrete answer to the inflation-related financial hardships of the people in the country. If you look at other European countries, the inflation rate is lower in some cases.


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The AfD's upswing began in the fall of 2022, when inflation was at a record high. Recently, it has fallen and the federal government is not the sole culprit for the high prices. Nevertheless, high prices and the associated deterioration in the social situation in the country are likely to have favored the AfD upswing.

New topic: Ukraine war

The AfD once started out as a Eurosceptic party and then became increasingly radicalized. In addition to the major migration issues, there were always phases in which the AfD expanded its profile, for example in Corona policy (in which, by the way, the AfD pushed for more measures at the beginning before switching to the easing camp). The current major situation is called the Ukraine war.

Here, the AfD is clearly positioning itself against the course of the federal government and the CDU/CSU. No sanctions, proximity to Russia, negotiations. "We have a unique selling point," said party leader Tino Chrupalla on ZDF. "Unlike the others, we say: the sanctions do not harm Russia, but our own people. They're driving up inflation." The Left Party may take a similar view in parts, but seems to be less able to score points than the AfD.

It is clear that the vast majority of the population supports the German government's Ukraine policy. The AfD (once again) catches those who do not feel heard.

It remains to be seen to what extent the AfD will be able to catalyze the current high mood. Polls are not yet election results. There will be next year. In 2024, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia will elect a new state parliament. The AfD could be the strongest force in all three state parliaments. (as)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-06-04

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