German Populists Surge Ahead of Greens, 2.5 Points Off Largest Government Party

08 September 2022, Berlin: Tino Chrupalla, national chairman of the AfD, and Alice Weidel,
Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany’s populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) has surged ahead of the country’s Green party in support, and is now only 2.5 off the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD).

According to an Insa survey poll published on Wednesday, AfD now enjoys 18 per cent support among the public, its highest level since 2018 during the wake of Europe’s previous migrant crisis.

The result puts the party firmly ahead of the German Green party, a member of the governing coalition, which it has been sitting  at around 15 per cent for the last number of months.

Such fortunes appear to have once again shifted significantly, with Die Welt writing that the Greens have now fallen to just 13 per cent in the polls, a fraction of the 23 per cent public support they boasted at times back in 2022 and the lowest level of support since 2018.

This collapse in support is likely down to the party’s hardcore support for unpopular climate change measures, with the government’s attempt to force the public to replace their cheap gas boilers with low-carbon heat pumps prompting massive backlash within the country.

These results now put the AfD ahead of two of Germany’s three ruling parties in terms of popularity, the Greens and the Neo-liberal FDP, and just two and a half points behind the Social Democrat Party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the largest partner in Germany’s ruling coalition.

The largest party, however, is once again the centrist Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, with the partner parties boasting 28 per cent support from the German electorate should Wednesday’s poll be believed.

It is a return to the status quo then for German politics, with the CDU/CSU grouping only falling out of favour in the latter years of the Angela Merkel government, leading to the left-wing coalition coming to power in 2021.

It now seems likely that Germany’s next government will require the support of the Christian Democrats, with the opposition party’s traditionally high support likely to continue for the next number of years.

By contrast, even if the AfD manages to maintain or even expand its base, its presence in any Federal government is extremely unlikely, with the party under a so-called “cordon sanitaire”, with all other parties largely blacklisting any cooperation with the populists.

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