Germany’s AfD hits record high in poll after budget chaos

BERLIN (Reuters) – Support for Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) hit an all-time high of 23% in a poll on Tuesday as the party continued to benefit from the fallout of a budget crisis.

Although the ruling coalition last week agreed a budget for next year after a court ruling upended its financial plans, mainstream parties fear that economic uncertainty could push voters to the AfD before elections in three eastern states next year.

The Forsa poll put the AfD up one percentage point from last week, a record high for the institute, closing the gap with the opposition conservative bloc which was unchanged at 31%.

The radical left Linke slipped one point to 3% while other parties were unchanged. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) were on 14% and the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats, who share power with the SPD, were on 13% and 5% respectively.

The AfD has gained from the budget crisis in the last month. In its latest victory, an AfD candidate was elected mayor of a large town, Pirna, near Dresden at the weekend.

Sensitive to Germany’s Nazi past, mainstream parties have refused to cooperate with the 10-year old AfD due to the radical views held by some members. It is, however, topping polls in Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia which hold elections in 2024.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers, Editing by Rachel More)