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Hans Vorländer: Approval ratings for AfD not a sure-fire success

Hans Vorländer, Chair of Political Theory and History of Ideas, speaks / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa
Hans Vorländer, Chair of Political Theory and History of Ideas, speaks / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa

Saxony's AfD is currently ahead in the election polls. Experts such as Dresden political scientist Hans Vorländer speak of a snapshot and consider the outcome of the state election to be open.

Dresden political scientist Hans Vorländer sees the AfD's current high approval ratings in election polls as neither a foregone conclusion nor a preliminary decision. "Moods are not votes. There is currently a neck-and-neck race in the opinion polls between the CDU and AfD. A lot can still happen between now and September 1," he told the German Press Agency in Dresden. There are still many unknowns in the game - especially with regard to the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW).

"No one can currently say exactly how many votes from which parties will go to the BSW," explained the professor. So far, there has been no impression that the alliance has been able to exploit the AfD's potential. "Little is yet known about the BSW's program. The party is more conservative in terms of social policy, but to the left in terms of economic policy. There are very different program ideas. There may be points of contact with the CDU in one respect or another. But overall, the BSW is an uncertain game."

In the most recent election poll, the AfD came first in Saxony with 34%, ahead of the CDU with 30%. Sahra Wagenknecht's alliance (11%) followed far behind in the poll conducted by the opinion research institute INSA on behalf of "Bild". This was followed by the SPD (6 percent) and the Greens and the Left (5 percent each). The FDP (2 percent) would once again fail to make the leap into parliament. According to Vorländer, the Left and SPD in particular must fear failure. The Greens have a loyal base of voters, especially in the big cities. Forming a government will always be problematic.

"Dissatisfaction with the current federal government is very strong. There is therefore potential among protest voters who continue to see the AfD as an outlet," said Vorländer. It remains to be seen to what extent the BSW will also benefit from the potential of the dissatisfied.

According to Vorländer, the classification of the AfD as an extreme right-wing movement in Saxony does not really deter the party's voters. "The AfD presents itself as the anti-party to the others. At best, the categorization can deter voters who otherwise tend to associate themselves with other parties, but have now considered voting for AfD out of frustration with the performance of the traffic light."

The political scientist expects that the situation could still change as the election campaign intensifies. In all polls, Minister President Michael Kretschmer (CDU) has so far received high approval ratings that are significantly higher than those of the CDU. This could also play a role in the end.

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