All eight major polling institutes in Germany show Alternative for Germany (AfD) currently at 15 to 17 percent of the vote; however, data from the Insa polling institute also shows that the party has room to grow.
The AfD is currently the third-strongest party in the country, according to Insa, but the Insa poll shows that another 10 percent of voters say they could imagine voting for the party. This is an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous survey. If the AfD were to reach its full potential, it would win 26.5 percent of the vote.
The AfD is also unique in that it is the only party that has increased its voter potential, according to Insa. There is also a potential pool of non-voters the AfD could tap into, but these voters were not counted in the Insa survey, which was conducted on behalf of Bild newspaper. The AfD has often been said to attract non-voters, which have accounted for a sizeable share of the party’s vote in the past.
The data shows that the AfD party can most likely draw its support from FDP voters, a party known for its free-market liberal stance. Nearly half of the party, 43 percent, say they would be willing to vote for the AfD. Another 24 percent of potential voters are found within the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Socialist Union (CSU). There is also a large pool of potential AfD voters in smaller parties that have failed to cross the 5-percent threshold and join parliament. A very small share exists in the SPD and Greens, where the combined total is only 11 percent.
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The growing potential for the AfD is likely driven by a broad range of factors. Germany is facing a significant inflation and economic crisis along with a migration crisis. The Insa poll shows that 34 percent of voters describe themselves as “angry citizens” and among AfD supporters, 70 percent describe themselves that way.
“The AfD is currently catching those sections of society for whom the Union does not distinguish itself clearly enough from the traffic light coalition,” said the Insa polling firm’s chief, Hermann Binkert.
This group was particularly infuriated by Germany’s migration policy, which has seen nearly 1.5 million arrive in 2022. So far, this number shows no signs of slowing in 2023, with the government set to spend €36 billion this year alone. In the first three months of 2023, over 160,000 migrants arrived in the country.
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In addition, a majority of the German public remains opposed to the planned ban on oil and gas heating, a proposal mainly championed by the Green party that could end up costing German homeowners and apartment owners billions in mandatory heating and energy efficiency upgrades over the coming years. In fact, experts indicate it will cost €9 billion annually until 2028, with the move coming at a time when Germans are facing significant inflationary pressure. The AfD remains firmly opposed to the plan.
“Inflation, coronavirus measures and Ukraine policy are also fostering an anti-establishment mood among dissatisfied voters. Many of them assume they can anger the establishment the most with a vote for the AfD,” added Binkert.
At the same time, the government, potentially fearing a surge in AfD support, has been dangling the threat of a ban on the entire AfD party.