The European refugee crisis is starting to take a toll on German politics. As Open Europe reports:
A new INSA poll for Bild puts Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) on a record-high 10%, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance fell by 1.5 percentage points to 34%. The poll has Merkel’s junior coalition partner SPD on 24%, Die Linke on 11%, the Greens on 10%, and the FDP on 6%. Bild quotes the head of the INSA polling company as saying, “We are experiencing a serious mood swing due to the refugee crisis. The AfD and FDP benefit from the weakness of the [CDU/CSU].”
The flow of immigrants into Germany is expected to continue to increase—sharply—next year. If it does, we expect to see more polls like this.
That does not mean that Merkel will fall. The AfD is obviously not polling at levels that would put it in power, and Merkel has sworn not to allow the AfD to join a government she runs. And as the Economist outlines here, the traditions of postwar German government mean that the rise of AfD would in some ways strengthen Merkel’s ability to form a centrist coalition.
But that doesn’t mean all will be well. 56 percent of Germans think there are too many refugees in the country already, with only a third approving of Chancellor Merkel’s handling of the crisis. And an overwhelming majority (83 percent) wants Germany to apply more pressure on its neighbors to help out with the crisis.
If the German government continues to hew to a line that a majority of its people object to, and yet stays in power, it will not be a recipe for social stability—particularly if both the number of refugees and the number of people who object to the “welcome policy” continue to grow.