Reader Bernd from Germany (not Bernd Lucke, AfD anti-euro party leader) has emailed me several times since Friday about polls conducted by the German tabloid Bild.
Emphasis must be placed on the the word "tabloid" because intellectuals and academics do not tend to read the paper, nor even acknowledge its existence.
Nonetheless, Bild is the number one readership paper in Germany, by far, with about 20 million readers daily. And a poll is a poll, not a slanted news article.
The Bild is not a supporter of AfD in the least. If the poll is pro-Afd biased, it surely was not by the Bild.
With that backdrop here are a few emails from reader Bernd.
Friday June 14
Hi Mish,Saturday, June 15
I hope you are well!
Today’s “Bild Zeitung” online poll show support for AfD above 20%, way higher than in any official poll.
If the chancellor could be elected directly, Angela Merkel would beat Peer Steinbrück by 63% to 37%. However, we do not elect the Chancellor directly. The party picture is what matters.
Merkel's current coalition (CDU/CSU/FDP) would only get 26% of the vote, not enough for her to remain as Chancellor without support from AfD or SPD.
Interestingly, the Bild did not even mention AfD in any coalition, a possible indication that Bild did not expect AfD to score anything above 5%.
That said, I caution that "Bild online" does not give a representative result for the entire German electorate. It can, at best, give a trend or tendency. The results suggest that AfD might be more popular than let on by German media.
Thank you, Mish, for your excellent observations on many topics not covered properly by other commentators.
Hi Mish,Sunday, June 16
"Bild Online" has decided to repeat the poll again, this time on its home page.
Today's poll follows an article by the “Bild-Federal Government Team”, which makes a prediction for the coming elections. Their prediction is that only a CDU/CSU/SPD coalition can be formed – under Merkel’s leadership.
However, Steinbrück had made it clear that he won’t be available under Merkel’s leadership.
The online poll at 8:45 shows 170,000 participants:
CDU/CSU - 37%
AfD - 20%
SPD - 18%
Die Grünen - 06%
Die Linke - 06%
FDP - 05%
Others - 04%
Piraten - 03%
The Bild official prediction is that AfD won’t make it into Parliament, due to the 5% barrier.
Hi MishMish Comments
The poll is now closed and AfD came third with 15%.
This is quite remarkable and would confirm my opinion, that at the moment, AfD has enough support to easily pass the 5% barrier. I told you way back, I see a potential for up to 12% for AfD. I see no need to change my mind at this point.
Online polls can be manipulated but Bernd counters with "To vote several times you need to clear the cache and clear the cookies each time. I guess 99% of Bild online readers do not know how to do that."
Still, the results are not scientific and a few very dedicated people could easily have hijacked the results. However, "could" and "did" are not the same thing.
I see this as very similar to the rise of the Five-Star Movement (M5S) in Italy, where the mainstream media gave M5S no chance, yet M5S ended up as the largest political party in Italy at election time.
If AfD gets as much as 10% of the vote and FDP does not clear the 5% threshold (both are likely), Angela Merkel will not survive the coalition building process or will be dramatically weakened in the process.
Wahl-O-Meter shows support for AfD at 7.9% with FPD dropping to 4.5%. With the threshold for parliament participation at 5% it is FPD, not AfD that is on the bubble.
Political Party Explanation
Please see Understanding German Politics for an explanation of the German political parties and what they stand for.
I am sticking with my April 23 prediction Merkel Loses Chancellorship in September as Support for AfD Soars
Bernd writes "The poll was done by Bild Online and not the physical tabloid. Bild tabloid has a circulation of about 3 million copies per day with a readership reach of about 12 Million (Bild's own claimed numbers). Each paper is read by 4 people. Pure observation in any train or street car in Germany will confirm this assumption. Between Bild tabloid and Bild Online the readership reach is claimed to be 20 Million. It is difficult to assess how high the online readership truly is, because the numbers come from two different sources."
Mike "Mish" Shedlock