Chaos in Deutscheland
Patrick Ruffini, a conservative blogger I’ve frequently read even in those proto-blog days of the late 90s, usually has a good take on international elections. This time, in a review of the recently concluded Germany elections, it’s a swing and a miss.
He titles the piece with an aside comment trying to dismiss a theory some political scientists and bloggers have that the late-breaking undecided voters usually back the challenger. The reality may have been that pollsters in Germany just go it wrong. And in this case, dropping from a 20 point lead in the polls down to just 1 point on election day, is probably just an example of a very horrible campaign by the Christian Democrats and a superb effort by incumbent Chancellor Schroeder’s Social Democrats.
He then goes on to sort of claim that Germans are too stodgy to elect a female Chancellor, unlike the more culturally conservative, but freedom-loving Americans.
I thank him for the district results map being saved, so we can also gawk at their staunch regional splits between the two main parties, but the rest of his commentary is a bit off.
In my opinion, this result is very similar to the one we saw in the UK earlier this year. The incumbents fall well-off their previous wins, but the primary opposition party doesn’t make the advance people were expecting. Instead, a third, centrist party with integrity makes a surprising showing to enhance their standing. Even the main results are similar (36-33 in the UK, 34-35 in Germany). The only interesting result is the 8% or so that was garnered by the renegade leftist group in Germany, which included a number of former communists and SDP politicians dissatisifed with the centrist Schroeder. Nothing comparable happened in the UK.
It’ll be interesting to see if the two major parties enter into a grand coalition, or whether these former communists rejoin the government as a junior partner.