More to the People, Less to Brussels! Alternative for Germany and the 2014 European Parliament Elections
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The aim of the article is to analyse the determinants of electoral support for the Alternative for Germany, which gained 7.04% of the vote in the 2014 European Parliament elections. AfD is considered a right-wing populist protest party of a primarily Eurosceptic orientation. However, there has been no in-depth analysis of its electoral success based on statistical methods. The territories of former East and West Germany have been selected as unit of analysis, since different patterns of electoral behaviour can be expected to play a role in former Eastern Bloc and Western countries. We analyse voters’ political preferences and the question whether the success of the AfD could be better explained with reference to protest voting or issue voting. We conclude that while in West Germany both protest voting and issue voting can explain the success of the AfD, the priority of issue voting over protest voting was pronounced in East Germany, as the immigration issue proved to be a very strong and significant predictor of electoral support for the AfD. Thus, we once again confirm that differences in individual voting behaviour between West and East persist even a quarter century after the unification of Germany. It is thus apparent that the so-called Iron Curtain continues to function as a cleavage in contemporary German politics.
- Department of Political Science and Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Department of Political Science and Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, email@example.com
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