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45-Year-Old Abstainers Likely to Vote for German Far-Right

BERLIN – Several studies conducted following the recent elections in the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Berlin showed that the traditional voter of the Alternative for Germany far-right party, or AfD, is usually male above the age of 45, practicing manual labor, and typically an abstainer.

These studies shed light on the common supporters of the AfD, which basically attracts one in every seven Germans, and despite emerging just three years ago, the right-wing party gained parliamentary representation in 10 out of 16 German states.

In Berlin, 17 percent of male voters voted for AfD against 10 percent of female participants, while in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 25 percent of male voters against 16 percent of the females voted for this party.

The Alternative for Germany gained the highest number of votes in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with 20.8 percent, edging out the Christian Democratic Union of Germany of Chancellor Angela Merkel. A total of 33 percent of the AfD voters in this state are either workers or craftsmen, 29 percent are unemployed and 27 percent are self-employed.

A study broadcast by the German ZDF channel highlighted the age factor, explaining that 14 percent of voters above the age of 60 voted for the Alternative for Germany, while those between the age of 45-60 represent 15 percent.

A report concerning Berlin prepared by Infratest Dimap noted that two-thirds of the AfD voters, or 64,000 out of 197,000, abstained during the previous elections.

These were the most prominent characteristics of the AfD voters, which also attracted former conservative voters (37,000), former social democrats (22,000) and former leftists (11,000).

The rise of the AfD, especially in the eastern regions of Germany, was clear in the city-state of Berlin, where this party achieved the highest percentage of support in the east with 17 percent, while only 11.8 percent voted for it in the west.

Experts rule out the theory that there is a sole reason for the rise of the German far-right, which has sounded alarms for its xenophobic and ultranationalist messages, but they pointed out, by the ideological argument, the discourse of fear and protest vote.

Franco Delle Donne, a consultant in political communication who works in Berlin, told EFE that “insecurity” and “vulnerability” felt by some groups, as well as “the feeling of social injustice” by the increasing relative poverty and job volatility have generated a state of “anger,” which is being exploited by the AfD.

He also opined that this party is using a discourse of intimidation, noting that the refugee crisis was only a catalyst to depict foreigners as enemies seeking to fight for social benefits, accommodation and jobs.

He also added that the party is using provocations to attract the attention of media, in order to position itself as a victim later on, only to communicate with hardliners and portray an image that it is the voice of the voiceless.

Recent surveys highlighted that the Alternative for Germany will gain 14 to 15 percent of the votes, if general elections were to be held now in Germany.


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