Charts! Last weekend’s elections in Saxony: Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz vs. the rest of the state

European Politics, International Politics, Politics

Last Sunday’s state elections in Saxony were marked by a low turnout, an only slightly eroded dominant position of the Christian-Democrats, and an imposing result for the right-wing, anti-system Alliance for Germany (AfD) party. The AfD was helped by the fact that these elections, the first state elections it ever took part in, took place in the very state where the party had already done best in the federal and European elections. Nevertheless, its 9.7% of the vote was remarkable and well beyond what the polls had foreseen.

Election night had its share of suspense as the extreme-right NPD hovered right around the 5% electoral threshold. It ended up missing it by a hair and getting 4.95%, which means it’ll be cast out of state parliament after ten years in its stronghold state.

There are several interesting geographic dimensions to the results, and I created an infographic at to share them. Below the fold, I accompany the charts with a few observations about what they show.

A few observations about what these charts show:

  • In Leipzig the left-wing parties got a total of 55%, and in Dresden close to 50%. But outside those cities and Chemnitz, the left-of-center parties pooled a paltry 35%of the vote.
  • The NPD was kept under the 5% threshold thanks to Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz. It got 5.7% in the rest of the state.
  • Over half of the vote for the Greens and Die PARTEI came from Dresden and Leipzig. Conversely, only about a fifth of the vote for the AfD and NPD came from those cities.
  • The progression of the vote for the Linke shows an interesting urban/rural divide: Dresden +1.6%; Leipzig -0.4%; Chemnitz -2.2%; Rest of the state -2.5%. Speculation: is that a slight reflection of it becoming a younger, more urban party, and less of a pensioner + working class “ostalgic” party? The party must also have suffered more from defections to the AfD outside the two main cities.
  • The CDU’s modest losses in the elections were entirely due to Dresden (-3%) and Leipzig (-1.4%). Elsewhere in the state its vote was totally stable. Another ever so slight sign of an increasing urban/rural divide.

Meanwhile, an Infratest Dimap poll showed where the AfD got its votes in Saxony (Further charts for voter exchange data by party are here). Almost a quarter of them came from the CDU, and about a tenth each from the FDP, Linke, NPD and non-voters.

Weirdly, Infratest Dimap’s chart also indicates that some 40,000 of the AfD’s voters (or over a quarter of them) came from “Other parties” (Sonstige). That seems hard to believe considering those only pooled some 120,000 votes in 2009, and the main ones were the Animal Protection Party and the Pirates. Maybe some voters prefer to say they voted “Sonstige” rather than confessing their true vote, or that they didn’t vote at all?

Doing a quick calculation on the basis of the chart’s absolute numbers and the 2009 results reveals that:

  • The CDU, Linke & SPD each lost 5% of their 2009 voters to the AfD. That’s pretty striking.
  • The NPD lost no less than 16% of its 2009 voters to the AfD. The FDP lost (only?) 10% of its voters to the party. The Greens were unaffected.

This is also a good occasion to link back to a couple of (mostly fairly exhaustive) infographics I made after the federal German elections last year:

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