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Thursday, June 20, 2013

AfD surges ahead... in the social media popularity stakes

An online force to be reckoned with
An interesting story in Die Welt caught our eye this morning on the success of Germany's new anti-euro party Alternative für Deutschland in the online campaign.

While the party's support in the polls has stabilised on around 3% (not enough to secure seats in the Bundestag), it is surging ahead every day in the social media popularity stakes. With over 36,000 'likes' on Facebook, the party has long since overtaken the FPD, the CDU/CSU, Die Linke and the Greens, and is now only around 2,000 behind the SPD. The party is however unlikely to overtake the Pirate Party which (unsurprisingly) is Germany's most popular political party in the online world with 78,000 'likes'.

In practical terms this is not hugely meaningful unless the party can translate this into actual votes in September. It does however suggest that early perceptions of AfD as a party dominated by stuffy, middle-aged male academics could be some way off the mark.


Ray said...

It would be interesting to know how many votes came from outside of Germany, like mine.

Rik said...

There are a lot of people really interested in the product, but they are no real salesmen that close the deal.

They should have focussed much more on present voters that are not satisfied with what they presently have and former not-voters (usually also dissatisfied people). In general people that are ready to make a protest vote. However it still looks that they are mainly focussing on voters of the party that has the highest approval rate both with party and leader (the CDU).

The '... For Dummies' guide on this has already been written a long time ago. In general by Wilders and with an academic as leader by Fortuyn (hope I get the name right). Why try to invent the wheel and why invent a square wheel?
Probably the most important lessons from Fortuyn is that an normal academic as 'face' for a protest party sucks. Most potential voters are fed up with academics. You need a maverick academic (Fortuyn bit of a poser, image of successful businessman with 4000 Euro suits and Jaguar with chauffeur and not a lefty with and 2CV). And being smarter than his opposition also helped of course.
AfD is like any other German party Prof this Herr Dr that and all look main stream academic. Part of the 'elite' the potential AfD voter doesnot really like.
Both Fortuyn and also Wilders had/have a way of discussing that the other side didnot have grip on. Fortuyn by being considerably smarter than the other side while the other side thought it to be the otherway around. A great recipe to create a bloodbad there. Wilders by his hard oneliners on topics the other side is weak but didnot realise that. Plus knowing nearly perfect how far he can go.

Basically the protest voters want to see their candidate win the discussion and make a fool out of the mainstream party candidates (the guys who think they know everything). But in their way. Not by winning (at least in general) an academic discussion. They are fed up with the current management and they want someone to show what these really are made off (a failed elite). Go for their weak points that are still defended as great achievements. Show the emperor has no clothes and let him deny it as much as possible.

As said earlier they have to watch out that they remain in the news. If they lose their attraction as news item they are probably a goner. The problem of having a boring person as leader/face, how competent he might be.