Scholz’s Social Democrats Overtake Far-Right AfD in German Poll

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats overtook the Alternative for Germany in a new opinion poll, suggesting a string of controversies continues to erode support for the far-right party ahead of Sunday’s European Parliament elections.

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In the latest INSA survey for Bild newspaper published Tuesday, the AfD lost further ground, dropping one and a half percentage points to 15.5%, the lowest since March last year.

Backing for Scholz’s party increased by one point to 16%, with the main opposition conservatives steady in first place on 30.5%. The two other members of Scholz’s three-pronged ruling alliance — the Greens and the Free Democrats — held at 12% and 5% respectively.

“The AfD has lost one in three voters compared to its peak in January 2024,” Bild quoted INSA head Hermann Binkert as saying. The poll of 2,002 German citizens was conducted between May 31 and June 3 and has a margin of error of 2.5 points.

The AfD tapped into resentment with the government and mainstream parties to rise as high as 23% in the INSA poll late last year. The anti-immigrant party’s fortunes have turned since then, in part due to a series of scandals around some of its most prominent lawmakers.

Last month, it was expelled from the Identity and Democracy Group in the European Parliament — which includes Italy’s League and France’s National Rally — over the behavior of Maximilian Krah, its lead candidate in the EU ballot.

Krah had been quoted by Italian newspaper la Repubblica as saying that not all members of the Nazi SS paramilitary organization were criminals. He was already under pressure after an assistant was detained suspected of spying for China.

The AfD is still the most-popular party in three eastern German regions that will hold elections in September.

--With assistance from Patrick Donahue.

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