The Electoral Supporter Base of the Alternative for Germany
Forthcoming, Swiss Political Science Review
37 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2017 Last revised: 15 Jun 2018
Date Written: September 25, 2017
Using the data from a recent nationwide survey, we provide the first analysis of the supporter base of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) since the party’s split and ideological re-orientation in mid-2015. Deriving our hypotheses from the literature on Populist Radical Right Parties (PRRPs) in Western Europe, our empirical findings strongly indicate that the electoral success of Germany’s newest right-wing party is due to the same set of socio-economic, attitudinal and contextual factors proven so important in other countries. Right-wing political attitudes concerning immigration, political distrust, fears of personal economic decline, as well as gender and socialisation effects are the most relevant explanatory variables. There is little support for recent interpretations of the AfD as solely the result of an insubstantial protest against mainstream parties. Rather, the party already appears to have formed a coherent supporter base motivated by both cultural and economically right-wing policy preferences.
Keywords: AfD, voting, Germany, panel study, Populist Radical Right Parties
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