Fewer germans are populist

Fewer and fewer germans are receptive to populist ideas, according to a recent study.

According to a representative survey for the "populism barometer 2020" by the bertelsmann foundation and the berlin science center for social research, only one in five eligible voters is still considered populist, compared with one in three two years earlier. The proportion of unpopulist voters has also risen by half since then. At the same time, researchers see the danger that the remaining populists, who have become defensive, could become more radicalized.

For the purposes of the study, "populist voters" are those who agreed with eight typically populist statements about the functioning of the state and society. This includes sentences such as "the parties only want the votes of the voters, they are not interested in their views" and "what is called a "compromise" in politics is really nothing more than a betrayal of one’s own ideas". About 10 people were interviewed in june.000 representatively selected eligible voters.

The anti-populist shift in the climate of opinion had already begun well before the corona pandemic, researchers emphasize. The populist wave reached its peak at the end of 2018 and then subsided in a "landslide". "The increased confidence in the government’s work in the course of the corona crisis has stabilized and slightly strengthened this trend reversal, but not triggered it," said study author robert vehrkamp of the bertelsmann foundation. Driver is above all a significantly improved government action that more strongly involves voters with their issues and views, vehrkamp explained.

In addition, the political center has responded to the heated populist climate of opinion in the wake of the migration crisis since 2015 and around the 2017 federal election with a successful counter-mobilization. In the year before the federal elections, the german population is now clearly more resistant to populist slogans. According to the opinion pollsters, in the coming elections, the union parties could benefit most from a jolt of civic voters from the afd, as well as the greens as a fundamentally anti-populist party.

Put on the defensive, the remaining right-wing populist fringe threatens to become more radical than before, the authors warn. This is particularly true of the afd, which is becoming an electoral party increasingly influenced by right-wing extremist attitudes, the study states. According to the survey results, it was clear that a majority of 56 percent of afd supporters were right-wing extremists. Populist attitudes also remain disproportionately common among afd supporters.

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