It wasn’t always the East – where Germany votes for the far-right

It wasn’t always the East – where Germany votes for the far-right

Organisation: Berliner Morgenpost (Interactive Team) (Germany)

Publication Date: 04/05/2017

Size of team/newsroom:small

Description

The German federal election takes place this September. For the first time since the 1950s, a party to the right of the CDU/CSU is on track to enter the German parliament: the right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD). Using this application, the Berliner Morgenpost has investigated which parts of Germany have voted for the far-right since reunification, and subjects widely held beliefs regarding the far-right parties and their voters to a fact check. An interactive map provides a detailed overview of the voting results recorded in the polling stations for the extreme right-wing (brown) and right-wing populist (blue) parties for the around 11,000 municipalities in Germany. The results for all German federal elections stretching back to 1990 can be viewed by election year. The map is supplemented with a graphic showing the most recent polling results, and the accompanying text describes and expounds on the various views the interactive map allows. A brief video report provides some insight into the far-right heartlands, while widely held beliefs such as “the far-right does best where few foreigners live” and “far-right parties do better in rural areas than in major cities” are examined using statistical data in the analysis mode of the application.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

The Berliner Morgenpost chose to focus on far-right parties in its first interactive application for the year of the German federal election not least due to the developments in the United States and the rise of right-wing populists in Europe. The detailed map provides some surprising insights, such as how the far-right heartlands have shifted from South Germany to East Germany since 1990, and gives a striking impression of a new shift to the right with the AfD. All voting results (including for minor far-right parties) are presented using today’s territorial structure of around 11,000 electoral districts, which allows the voting trends in federal elections to be compared back to 1990. In addition, all parties running in this timeframe are grouped politically, including minor and regional parties (some of which no longer exist). With the accompanying text and fact check, the application does more than simply present the data. In the fact check, the statistical analyses are made easily comprehensible for the user, supported by a variety of graphical formats. Each of the theses checked has a clear conclusion and succinct explanation of how this was reached. Despite the complex calculations involved, the user is not overwhelmed.

Technologies used for this project:

Leaflet / Mapnik, d3.js, React.js and Statistics with R

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