Apr 262015
 
Apr 222015
 

Over on his blog, Andreas Kemper has an interesting piece (in German) on the five state-level party conferences the AfD has held last weekend. According to him, the outcomes of the conferences demonstrate that the party has shifted further to the right in four (Hesse, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt) of these five cases. A sixth party in Northrhine Westphalia conference, which was scheduled for this weekend, has been cancelled today. It had been widely expected that his opponents would try to overthrow Marcus Pretzell as state party leader at the conference. Now it would seem that both sides are regrouping.

Apr 212015
 
16744869136_23292359f0_pegida

I’m guest-blogging over at the Disclaimer Magazine

We live under the impression that the extreme right in Germany is weak. While it is less visible than equivalents in France or the Netherlands, there is a rich undercurrent of rightist dissent that could rise to the surface to enter the mainstream of German politics.

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Photo by opposition24.de

Apr 212015
 
Apr 182015
 

Not yet, but they are working on it.

What’s The Matter with the AfD?

In my research paper on the AfD party’s 2014 EP manifesto, I argue that the AfD will have to face a choice between their current mix of social conservatism/economic liberalism on the one hand and right-wing populism proper on the other. That time is now, and the choice seems to tear apart the party.

Since its inception in early 2013, the AfD has rolled out six campaigns at the federal and state level. It is arguably the most successful new party in Germany since the Greens, but the media coverage of the last three weeks has been nothing but devastating.

afd photo

Photo by blu-news.org

Talking ‘bout a Resolution … or Two

A month ago, the AfD leadership in Thuringia published the “Erfurt Resolution”, which is effectively canvassing for a more rightist profile of the party. The “liberal” wing launched a counter manifesto, the “Germany Resolution”. As of today, “Erfurt” has 1,905 likes on Facebook and more than 1,600 signatories in the real world. “Germany” has 1,403 likes and an undisclosed number of signatories. While these number are low in absolute terms, the AfD has only between 20,000 and 25,000 members, and in most parties, only 10 per cent or less of the membership are actually active, so some 3,000 people taking a stand represent a very significant degree of polarisation.

This polarisation has already split the parliamentary party in Thuringia: One of the AfD MPs (who is still a party member) had the whip removed from him, and two others may still suffer the same fate. In Hesse, the state party has just voted out its leadership while I’m writing this, and might bring back its former leader, who had to resign five months ago because he had kept shtum about his previous membership in the right-wing extremist Republikaner party.

The Colour of Money

In other news, Marcus Pretzell, who is party leader in NRW and one of the AfD’s MEPs, has been investigated by the party’s national exec following financial irregularities. The report recommends that Pretzell should keep his seat in Brussels but resign from the NRW leadership, because he was not able to deal with the demands of his private and political life. Unsurprisingly, Pretzell refused to step down, and threatened to disturb the upcoming election campaign in Bremen.

At the federal level, the party’s HQ is in disarray. The party manager has resigned before he could be sacked, and the treasurer is chasing large sums of money that went missing in 2014.

What next?

The current level of infighting is dramatic, and it is hurting the party. The Greek shenanigans and the current wave of unease about refugees and asylum seekers should help the AfD, but it is hovering at just about five per cent in the opinion polls. That does not bode well for the election in Bremen in May (where the right-wing extremist DVU has done well in the past). But it’s not the end of the road for the AfD yet. New parties tend to quarrel, because they attract all sorts of activist.

The Greens are an interesting point of reference in this respect. They only became a disciplined party when they effectively ejected the leftist wing in the 1990s. The AfD’s national leadership is currently pondering the merits of a referendum by party members on the AfD’s future course. If such a referendum is held and results in a draw, the party might well split, otherwise, an exodus of the losing side and their political marginalisation is the most likely scenario.

Apr 102015
 
Lehrbuch Strukturgleichungsmodelle (SEM)

Lehrbuch Strukturgleichungsmodelle

Mein seit langem geplantes Lehrbuch “Strukturgleichungsmodelle” erscheint demnächst bei Springer VS. Viele politikwissenschaftliche Beispiele illustrieren die Anwendung gängiger Modelle auf Daten aus dem ESS und dem Allbus. Gezeigt wird jeweils, wie sich die Modellschätzung in Stata, MPlus und Lisrel realisieren läßt. Zu allen Beispielen ist die vollständige und kommentierte Syntax für alle drei Programme enthalten.

Ich danke Sabrina Mayer, Benjamin Sack, Jasmin Fitzpatrick, Daniela Herrmann, Daniel Weber und Dagmar McCaslin für zahlreiche Anregungen, Hinweise und Korrekturen. Näheres zum Lehrbuch Strukturgleichungsmodelle findet sich hier (Syntax und Daten folgen bald).

Apr 102015
 
Apr 032015
 
11098213416_2d1ba62d8d_gauweiler

For an hour or so, even the international press was mildly excited – “resignation of one of Merkel’s senior Christian Democrats from government over Greek bailout” or something along those lines. They got it wrong. Gauweiler is a member of the CSU (not Merkel’s party), and he held no government office. He had a long political career centred around right-wing policies and controversy. He has voted time and again the bailouts, and has made various attempts to stop them via the Federal Constitutional Court. In other words, he rebelled, and he sued his own government.

In return, he was not only tolerated but was made (one of four) deputy chairs of the CSU in 2013 by Horst Seehofer. That maneuver was part of the CSU’s rather transparent “have it both ways” strategy: The party supported Merkel and her policies but nonetheless tried to cover the right and Eurosceptic flank that had come under attack from the AfD. With the federal and European elections firmly behind us, Gauweiler and his (few) fellow rebels have served their purposed. His resignation signifies exactly that: there is no major uprising under way.

Predictably, the AfD have asked Gauweiler to jump ship, but he has already declined. At 65, he will probably focus on his (very lucrative) law practice. Without doubt, his resignation will contribute to the growing disaffection with Seehofer’s erratic style of leadership. But even that will matter only in the medium run, if at all.

Want to read more about this? Here is my interview with Handelsblatt Global on the Gauweiler resignation.

Photo by blu-news.org

Apr 012015
 
Mar 312015
 

Worried about survey bias?

We have updated our add-on (or ado) surveybias, which calculates our multinomial generalisation of the old Martin, Traugott, and Kennedy (2005) measure for survey bias. If you have any dichotomous or multinomial variable in your survey whose true distribution is known (e.g. from the census, electoral counts, or other official data), surveybias can tell you just how badly damaged your sample really is with respect to that variable. Our software makes it trivially easy to asses bias in any survey.

Within Stata, you can install/update surveybias by entering ssc install surveybias. We’ve also created a separate page with more information on how to use surveybias, including a number of worked examples.survey bias

The new version is called 1.3b (please don’t ask). New features and improvements include:

  • Support for (some) complex variance estimators including Stata’s survey estimator (sample points, strata, survey weights etc.)
  • Improvements to the numerical approximation. survebias is roughly seven times faster now
  • A new analytical method for simple random samples that is even faster
  • Convenience options for naming variables created by survebiasseries
  • Lots of bug fixes and improvements to the code

If you need to quantify survey bias, give it a spin.