Feb 052018
 

Update February 5, 2018

In March 2017, I posted a graph which shows how the AfD’s Facebook posts moved away from euroscepticism and Greece-bashing towards immigration and Islamophobia. But trends can change, and local regression smoothers have a habit of behaving strangely at the borders. So I downloaded another year’s worth of Facebook posts and reran the scripts:

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the new graph confirms for 2017 what we have seen for 2016: Muslims and immigrants are all the rage, whereas the Euro crisis is so 2014. I leave the old graph/post below as is for comparison.

Almost exactly four years ago, the “Alternative für Deutschland” party (AfD) began its life as a moderately eurosceptic outfit that brought together right-wingers of various stripes. Even back in 2014, the party did not qualify as radical right-wing populist. Quite to the contrary: The leadership went to great lengths to present a “civic” front of professors, business persons, and concerned citizens. However, their 2015 de facto split was a critical juncture in the young party’s history. The part’s most prominent face, economist and former CDU member Bernd Lucke, and many of his supporters left the party.

The AfD’s central command is very active on Facebook, and so a quantitative analysis of their posts is a reasonable means for tracking their ideological trajectory. For a presentation I gave last week, I have updated and somewhat streamlined my 2015 analysis of their social media activities. I’m only looking at posts by the AfD on their own (federal) fan page. Over the last four years, the party has accumulated no less than 3482 of them. Their text is lightly normalised and stemmed, and I’m looking for substrings pertaining to four issues: Europe and the Euro, Greece, Islam/Muslims, and Migration/Refugees. Obviously, a post can refer to two or more of these issues, so the numbers may sum up to more than 100%. The result is this:

issues.png

It’s quite clear that in 2013 and early 2014 (think European elections), a large chunk of their posts made reference to the Euro, the EU, and so forth. In the first half of 2015, Greece (remember the long nights and that funny finance minister) and Euroscepticism were back on the agenda. But when the economic liberals left the AfD around June and the refugees emerged as a dominant issue in European politics later that year, Greece was forgotten. In 2016, the AfD was all about migrants, refugees, and Muslims. I really need to find the time to dig deeper into this.


Also published on Medium.

  17 Responses to “Update: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture”

  1. RT @kai_arzheimer: Update: How the #AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/NHv8id2yzi

  2. RT @kai_arzheimer: Update: How the #AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture – kai arzheimer https://t.co/deqAyO…

  3. RT @kai_arzheimer: From the vault: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/hW4gnJtKVW

  4. RT @kai_arzheimer: From the vault: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/hW4gnJtKVW

  5. RT @kai_arzheimer: Cool: @TheEconomist turns my research on the #AfD https://t.co/RxQAxWehEQ into very Economist graph https://t.co/hmAqZw6…

  6. RT @kai_arzheimer: Cool: @TheEconomist turns my research on the #AfD https://t.co/RxQAxWehEQ into very Economist graph https://t.co/hmAqZw6…

  7. RT @kai_arzheimer: From the vault: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/MdFhfWFxOb

  8. RT @kai_arzheimer: From the vault: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/MdFhfWFxOb

  9. RT @kai_arzheimer: From the vault: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/MdFhfWFxOb

  10. RT @kai_arzheimer: From the vault: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/MdFhfWFxOb

  11. RT @kai_arzheimer: From the vault: How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/MdFhfWFxOb

  12. RT @kai_arzheimer: How the #AfD ditched #Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture – kai arzheimer https://t.co/rIuAaZIhdl ht…

  13. RT @kai_arzheimer: How the #AfD ditched #Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture – kai arzheimer https://t.co/rIuAaZIhdl ht…

  14. How the AfD ditched Euroscepticism and embraced immigration, in one picture https://t.co/ppHMCWpdnT via @kai_arzheimer

  15. RT @kai_arzheimer: How the #AfD (mostly) ditched Euroscepticism and embraced #immigration, in one picture – kai arzheimer https://t.co/59vE…

  16. RT @kai_arzheimer: How the #AfD (mostly) ditched Euroscepticism and embraced #immigration, in one picture – kai arzheimer https://t.co/59vE…

  17. More good analysis of the AfD by @kai_arzheimer: ditching Euroscepticism / embracing immigration https://t.co/o6IXoUHQIH via @kai_arzheimer

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