Allensbach poll on Germans in Afghanistan

The Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach has published a new poll on the German ISAF mission.

www.FAZ.net article (in German)
(The article has additional interesting results for other questions.)

They asked Germans the question "Würden Sie rückblickend sagen, dass es ein Fehler war, sich an der Schutztruppe in Afghanistan zu beteiligen?"
("Would you say that, in retrospect, it was a mistake to participate in the protection force in Afghanistan?")

"Es war ein Fehler" ("It was a mistake") answered
59% of the group 'whole population'
48% among CDU (social conservatives) voters
59% among SPD (social democrats) voters
46% among FDP (liberals) voters
70% among Grüne (greens) voters
85% among Linke (socialists) voters

This confirms older polls (here and here); a majority is against the German participation.

Especially interesting and wicked is the situation for the greens; the SPD and greens were in power and led by decidedly centre/moderate top politicians (now retired) into both the Kosovo Air War and the initial Afghanistan mission.

Green party top politicians still paint the ISAF mission as a kind of women's liberation and human rights mission and dream about building schools and such. The party supports the ISAF mission.
The green voter base thinks differently; the greens were (until their loss of pacifist principles in 1998) THE German peace party. The socialists try hard to fill the gap.
Obviously, many - indeed most - green voters didn't buy into the green party leadership's delusions about the ISAF mission.




  1. Saying "It was a mistake" doesn't necessarily mean "being against".

    It just means one would wish to have made a different decision back then.

    But yeah, Germans are not in this with their heart.

  2. The percentage happens to be very close to the reults of the mentioned other polls which asked about withdrawal.

  3. Could you please briefly explain which party is likely to hold the majority in parliament over the next decade?

    German Politics often confuses me...

  4. No way. The foreign policy differences between a SPD-led government and a CDU-led government aren't really significant, so this uncertainty should not bother foreigners.

    There are basically two blocks; CDU/CSU and FDP on the right and SPD/greens on the left. The left is handicapped by the fact that the socialists took away the left wing of the SPD. A SPD/greens/socialists government is unlikely and very problematic becasue the socialists are in a fully populistic opposition mode of operation - and their East German part is the sucessor-successor of the Honecker regime in East Germany.

    The economic problems and unpopular political reactions to these problems could cause a swing to SPD/greens till 2013 - or not. Nobody knows.


  5. Its always enlightening to see how useless a parties "particular" ideas are, as soon as they are being voted into government.

    I say, vote for the Socialists the next time. I bet, within a year we find ourselves in a military campaign, perhaps a multinational occupation of North Korea? ;-)

    Which party will hold the next majority? It simply does not matter. If I were to play prophecist, I would say, the 21st century will see the end of political parties. They have lost their particular voting bases and all thats left is some competition along the lines of "XYs Next Top Model". The election in the UK was another case in point.

  6. Its "prophet" of course...my head hurts...

  7. The problem is that if the electorate swings to the left, Die Linke is likely to pick up a vote from the SPD or Greens for every vote the SPD or Greens get from the CDU or FDP. The coalition talks in NRW prove the the SPD and Greens aren't serious about trying to form a coalition with Die Linke. I think the talks lasted all of one hour and were mostly about the DDR(even though in NRW die Linke has nothing to do with the DDR). The inability to form a Red-Red-Green government is going to result in a lot more CDU-SPD coalitions and after every other election CDU-FDP, expect also declining voter participation.

    The Afghanistan example reminds me of politics in the US, where a policy is against the interests of a powerful industry or interest group it has no chance, regardless of how strong public support is for it. The fact that all German parties except Die Linke supported the ISAF deployment, suggests that, here too, something apart from the will of the voters is determining party policy. I would like to see clarified what exactly that is. I'm still baffled about it, especially because you have public financing of elections.

  8. @Luny:
    The problem is that the politicians know they get away with it because there's no plebiscite on ISAF. ISAF is only a small part of a federal election campaign and very unlikely to become decisive.

    They also pretty much formed a cartel, offering only one product (war) while their only competitor is unacceptable for the vast majoriy.I believ that the de fato cartel was coincidal in this case.

    Btw, I addressed problems like this intwo March '10 posts, titled "Let's improve our democracy, a work in progress".

  9. "The fact that all German parties except Die Linke supported the ISAF deployment, suggests that, here too, something apart from the will of the voters is determining party policy."

    The ISAF deployment started out as being supported by the public. While the opinion of the electorate has changed, the whole isse is simply not valuable enough in terms of public opinion and voting influence for the relevant parties to run a course contradictory to international cooperation and the relevant repercussions. Note that all the relevant parties, SPD, Greens, CDU and FDP, are or until recently were responsible for the respective government policies. The current SPD is the most obvious example of someone, who now rather opposes the deployment, but feels sufficiently embarassed by the fact that they send those troops there in the first place - thus keeping the tone down in order to not represent themselves as complete hypocrites. They know that any such "change of mind" can also backfire badly with the voters. The inquiry into the Kunduz airstrike was a case in point IMO.

    Die Linke is the only party that rejects deployments such as ISAF on general principle, therefore its easy for them to oppose it. This is not the case for the other parties.

    To put it short, political correctness is IMO a major factor. As long as none of the major allies pull out, the German political attitude is to hang in there.

  10. It sounds wrong if politicians in a supposedly democratic land fear the negative reactions of foreign diplomats more than rejection by voters and prefer to work counter the latter's preferences.

    It sounds especially wrong in this example; the mission was enlarged and restructured during the time of rejection by voters.