Voters may still be embarrassed to admit support for AfD via telephone polling (popular in Germany), and because polls are weighted to include past vote recall, they are inherently biased in favour of the established parties.
Though polls usually put AfD on about 2-3%, recent polls have put them as high as 4%: just one point short of the 5% threshold needed to enter the Bundestag.
And this issue has been stewing. Last month AfD leader Bernd Lucke claimed that employees of the major German polling companies, Forsa and Allensbach, had informed him that AfD was polling well above 5% in the pollsters' raw data, but that they were deliberately fudging AfD’s results.
Pretty sensational stuff if true.
But now the regional court in Cologne has slapped AfD on thewrist, ruling that it is not allowed to make such allegations against Forsa.
Forsa Chief Manfred Güllner (who has previously admitted that the AfD may do better than predicted by polls), called Lucke’s allegations “disgraceful,” adding that AfD hasn’t “even come close to 5% -- let alone over.”
Güllner isn’t holding back his punches, saying of the Afd leader "I only call him liar Lucke...[he] is completely insane. We handle AfD just like every other party. What Mr Lucke is claming is utter rubbish, a complete conspiracy theory. None of our employees spoke to Mr Lucke, absolute nonsense.”
But with the federal election taking place in less than a week, we will soon know just how accurate the polls have been about AfD.