The recent electoral success of the AfD in Germany reflects a growing trend towards the twin dangers of nativism and nationalism.
The danger for Merkel in the future will be to see if she can stem the flow towards the AfD amongst the “middle ground” of German society that is deeply conflicted over immigration, Islam, and “otherness”. The Social Change Initiative (SCI) recently partnered with Purpose Europe to commission Ipsos MORI to conduct segmented opinion polling in Germany to get a better sense of what various segments of the public think, why they think it and what messages address their concerns. The segmentation approach works by drawing on representative sampling of 2000 people which provides insights for influencing public opinion.
The approach is useful for identifying the population segment most ready to take action to support refugees and migrants; identifying those that are most hostile and identifying those holding mixed views, including those most open to changing their minds.
This latter group, sometimes referred to as the “conflicted” or “anxious middle” was shown to represent 61 per cent of German society. A battle for the hearts and minds of this “middle Germany” is beginning and in order to reach them, we must understand them.