Germany’s Far-Right Jumps to Record Support as Scholz Slumps

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(Bloomberg) -- Support for the far-right Alternative for Germany climbed to a record, widening its lead over all three parties in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition.

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In the latest sign of voter frustration with the government, support for the AfD — as the party is widely known — increased to 22%, trailing only the conservative Christian Democrat-led bloc at 26%, according to a poll conducted for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper by INSA.

Support for Scholz’s Social Democrats was at 18%. The junior coalition partners, the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats, were at 14% and 7%, respectively.

The AfD’s advances in recent months have been fueled by discontent over issues ranging from record immigration, persistently high inflation and costly climate-protection measures.

Coalition infighting, including a drawn-out feud over measures to shift household heating away from fossil fuels, has further irritated voters. The INSA poll said 70% were dissatisfied with the government and 60% were unhappy with Scholz’s performance as chancellor.

Read More: Far-Right Resurgence Limits Scholz’s Room for Action

Scholz has sought to respond by urging Germans to sign up to his vision for technological and environmental transformation, and warned against the rise of “ill-tempered” political competitors he’s accused of exploiting the fears of ordinary citizens.

On Saturday, the Bild tabloid looked at the changes that might take place in Germany if the AfD was in power. The country’s most popular daily suggested prices would rise and travel could be restricted because of the party’s anti-European Union stance.

Business representatives in eastern Germany, where the AfD is particularly strong, warned that the economy would suffer under the party, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

“The AfD would massively damage our commercial standing,” Christian Haase, the head of an association that represents family-owned businesses in the state of Saxony, told the daily. “AfD demands such as leaving the EU or a strict ban on immigration are a dead end. Disengaging from foreign countries would be the end for the German economy.”

INSA surveyed 1,266 voters between July 17 and July 21. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, according to the public-opinion researcher.

(Adds comment from business association in penultimate paragraph.)

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