The Alternative for Germany (AFD) as populist issue entrepreneur: Explaining the party and its voters in the 2021 German federal election
This article analyses the vote for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the 2021German Federal Election. Using the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES),we confirm some findings from previous studies, above all that attitudinal variables–including anti-immigrant ideology–are much stronger predictors of the AfD vote than socio-demographic variables. Moreover, we uncover three new findings in relation to vote choice for the AfD. First, anti-EU attitudes had a positive, statistically significant impact on AfD vote choice in2021. Second, negative attitudes towards political elites increased the probability of voting for the AfD. Third, and perhaps most important, dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was positively related to voting for the AfD. Given these results, we argue here that the AfD has become something of a populist 'issue entrepreneur' which, while exploiting existing niches in the electoral marketplace (the EU and migration), is finding new issues to tap and exploit.