One Year After Migrant Crisis Peak Merkel’s Party Crashes In Polls, AfD Up

Angela Merkel
REUTERS/Stefanie Loos

(REUTERS) – Support for Angela Merkel’s conservatives has slipped as more voters turn to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), a poll showed on Wednesday, a year after the chancellor prompted criticism by saying Germany would cope with the migrant crisis.

A Forsa poll showed support for her conservatives, still the biggest group, had fallen to 33 percent, down two points from last week and eight points from a year ago. The AfD rose two points to 12 percent, their second-highest level this year.

About a year before the next federal election, the survey highlights growing dissatisfaction with Merkel, chancellor for more than a decade, since her decision to adopt an open-door refugee policy.

Around a million migrants, many from war zones like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, arrived in Germany last year, triggering fears about the costs and integration which have boosted support for the right-wing AfD.

To stem the influx, Merkel championed an EU deal with Turkey which has prompted accusations that she has cosied up to an authoritarian leader with a patchy human rights record.

In an interview published on Wednesday, Merkel said Germany and other EU countries had for too long ignored the looming refugee crisis.

Merkel’s conservatives face heavy losses in two upcoming regional elections, the first on Sunday in eastern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and on Sept. 18 in the city of Berlin. The AfD is widely expected to make big gains in both.

The Forsa poll showed support for all other parties was unchanged with the Social Democrats (SPD), who share power with Merkel’s conservatives on 22 percent.

The poll also showed that 62 percent of Germans thought the government’s overhaul of civil defenses, which told citizens to stock up on water and food in the event of a terrorist attack or national catastrophe, announced last week, was scaremongering.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Toby Chopra)


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