After the shockingly strong showing of AfD in election results in Hessen last weekend many political commentators were admitting not to have seen it coming. The showing was exacerbated by the extremely low electoral participation but having the spectrum of the “reasonable” parties being unable to motivate their electorate at a time when AfD is so hyper-activated is indicative of political trouble in its own right.
Today three more of the German Bundesländer hold local elections. In the graphs below you see the shares of the 5 major parties in Google search restricted to the Bundesländer of interest. These shares do by no means (hopefully) necessarily translate in elections results but are significant in that they show that the buzz around AfD is higher than for all other parties. This has many reasons. Firstly the majority of the searches for AfD also include “wahlprogramm” so they are searches which try to understand the newcomer. Secondly everybody is interested in knowing about the AfD and news about it, even its political opponents so the search buzz for AfD contains everybody.
The cross sectional comparison ought to better relate to electoral outcome for obvious reasons so one ought to expect a stronger outcome for AfD in Sachsen Anhalt and comparable showings in Rheinland Pfalz and Baden-Wurttemberg.
There is one interesting issue here which in the long run ought to be dealt with by the mainstream political parties. The specter of the AfD is becoming self fulfilling. The main channel being this. The more SPD and CDU blame each other (see this WiWo article eg) for the strength of AfD the more voters of SPD and CDU who are dissatisfied, for whatever reasons, will be flowing towards the AfD as a means to express their political mischief. Why? Because casting their vote for someone they both oppose is the best way to “punish” those that disappointed them. If AfD continues to pray on the lost souls of CDU/CSU, SPD etc while the mainstream political powers blame each other for this mutation of political right extremism then the self fulfilling growth of AfD will only stop when the reservoir of lost souls is empty. That reservoir is being filled with those that are dealt a bad hand in these times of change…