The Electoral Supporter Base of the Alternative for Germany: An Analysis of a Panel Study of German Voters in 2015-16

34 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2017  

Achim Goerres

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science

Dennis C. Spies

University of Cologne

Staffan Kumlin

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science; Institute for Social Research, Norway

Date Written: April 3, 2017

Abstract

Using a recent representative survey, we provide the first analysis of the supporter base of the AFD since the parties’ split and ideological reorientation in mid-2015. Deriving our hypotheses on AFD sympathizers from the comparative literature of Populist Radical Right Parties (PRRPs) in Western Europe, our empirical findings strongly indicate that the electoral success of Germany newest right-wing party is due to the same set of socio-economic, attitudinal and contextual factors proven so important to explain the fortunes of PRRPs in other countries. In sum, right-wing political attitudes concerning immigration, political dissatisfaction, fears of personal economic decline, as well as gender and socialization effects make up the list of the most relevant explanatory variables. There is little support for recent interpretations, seeing the rise of the AFD as a result of political protest against mainstream parties alone. Rather, our analyses strongly suggest that the party has already managed to form a coherent supporter base motivated by both cultural and economically right-wing policy preferences. Its success also mirrors old-established geographical structures of right-wing voting in Germany with regional results of the Republikaner in 1994 explaining part of the story. With regard to the mid- to long-term electoral fortunes of the AFD, this electoral alliance might not only turn out highly successful but also very long-lived.

Keywords: AfD, voting, Germany, panel study, Populist Radical Right Parties

Suggested Citation

Goerres, Achim and Spies, Dennis C. and Kumlin, Staffan, The Electoral Supporter Base of the Alternative for Germany: An Analysis of a Panel Study of German Voters in 2015-16 (April 3, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2942745 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2942745

Achim Goerres (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science ( email )

Lotharstrasse 65
Duisburg, D-47057
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.achimgoerres.de

Dennis C. Spies

University of Cologne ( email )

Albertus-Magnus-Platz
Cologne, 50923
Germany

Staffan Kumlin

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 1097
Blindern
Oslo, 0317
Norway

Institute for Social Research, Norway ( email )

PO Box 3233 Elisenberg
Oslo, 0208
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://socialresearch.no

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