German anti-immigrant AfD party gets 16 percent, highest ever, in new poll

The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party would capture 16 percent of the vote if a federal election were held now, according to an opinion poll on Friday which showed it drawing more support than ever before.

The poll released by public broadcaster ARD said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives would get 32 percent of the vote, while the Social Democrats, junior partner in the ruling coalition, would get 22 percent. Together they would have 54 percent, enough for the ruling “grand coalition” to continue.

The AfD made huge gains in two regional elections this month and will now have seats in 10 of 16 state assemblies, benefiting from a backlash against Merkel’s open-door refugee policy and the arrival of nearly a million migrants last year.

The next federal election is a year from now. The party’s latest score of 16 percent is more than three times the 5 percent it would need to win seats in the Bundestag or parliament for the first time. [Reuters] Read more