In recent weeks, AfD campaigners have received threatening phone calls, been subjected to verbal abuse and -- in some cases -- physical attacks.Apparently the AfD is debating whether to suspend campaigning in Göttingen, which, being a university town is particularly intolerant of any diverging opinion.
Though the AfD has complained of such incidents in a number of cities including Berlin, Lübeck and Nuremberg, the party points to a particularly brutal confrontation at a campaign stand in the eastern town of Göttingen last week. The local police were forced to break up a dispute between the AfD and members of the Green Youth -- the youth wing of Germany's Green Party -- subsequently installing 40 officers at the stand to make sure that the violence was kept at bay.
Naturally, I hope they will not give up campaigning and, indeed, I hope they do well in the forthcoming election, if for no other reason but to put a spoke in the nasty leftie-greenie-fascist activists. Of course, it would be good to see a decent turn-out against the euro though whether Germany can actually afford to break that up is a moot point.
Friedrich Geiger in a Wall Street Journal blog speculates that the AfD may yet surprise everyone in the September election, maybe even reaching the necessary five per cent.
In a poll conducted by Forsa institute and published Wednesday, 3% of participants said they would vote for the AfD in September 22 elections. The result is well below the 5% threshold needed for parties to enter parliament in Germany. AfD’s results in previous surveys have been similar.We shall see on September 22.
However, at election betting platform Prognosys, the AfD is mustering a healthy 6%, BHF points out. Prognosys lets betters place odds on the outcome of the vote.
“Maybe not all poll participants dare disclose their support for AfD,” the bank says as a possible explanation for the divergence. That’s because some supporters of the AfD, whose main demand is that Germany exit the euro zone, are aware of the party’s negative reputation among some Germans.
Evidence that polls can underestimate smaller parties is easily found in past elections.