Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deutschland Wahlergebnisse

Germany had an election; Der Spiegel has a map (under the Wahlkriese tab):

germany election map

(According to Babel Fish, 'erobert' means 'conquered' (evocative!) and 'gehalten' means 'held,' so you can see where parties made gains, especially the CDU and Linke.)

The link comes from the San Francisco Examiner, which says:
The results are in on Sunday’s elections in Germany, and the big news is that it is a big win for the center-right. In the vote for proportional representation (Zweitstimme), Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (the Christian Democratic Union and the Bavarian Christian Social Union, CDU/CSU) got 33.8% of the vote and the free-market Free Democrats (FDP), Merkel’s preferred coalition partner, got 14.6%, for a total of 48.4%. The Social Democrrats (SDP) got only 23.0%, their lowest share in history, while the Greens (GrĂ¼ne) got 10.7% and the Left (Linke, more or less the former Communists) got 11.9%. The SDP has been willing to enter into a coalition with the Greens, as it did in 1998-2005, and with the CDU/CSU, as it has in the so-called Grand Coalition since the 2005 election, but not with the Left.

Both of the two largest parties got smaller percentages than in the last election, in September 2005, but the drop for the CDU/CSU was minimal, while the SDP share dropped from 34.2% to 23.0%--one out of its three voters went elsewhere. The percentages for the three minor parties all rose, with the FDP getting the largest percentage in the 60-year history of the Federal Republic. My sense is that voters in Germany, as in Britain, are engaging here in tactical voting.
If my brain is functioning properly (not certain!) that means right/center-right parties got 48.4% of the vote, and left/center-left parties got 45.6%.

You can click on the Interaktive Grafik to see where each parties had strengths. The Christian Democrats did best in northwestern Germany, but showed strength in the southwest and parts of the east as well. The CSU, which appears to stand in relation to the CDU in Bavaria as the DFL party stands in relation to the Democrats in Minnesota, did well on their home turf. The Free Democrats did best in the south and in Schleswig-Holstein in the north. The opposition Social Democrats, who sort of tanked a little, had their best showing in the west, especially in Hessen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, and Niedersachsen. Linke, a left-wing party, did best in East Germany but poorly pretty much everywhere else. The Green Party, kind of oddly, did best in many of the same regions as the Free Democrats; those areas appear to be amenable to third parties, for whatever reason. They also did wellish in and around Berlin.

Michael Barone, the author of the Examiner article, notes: "What strikes me as uncanny is that the CDU/CSU tends to win in the historically Catholic parts of Germany (the south, much of the Rhineland) while the SDP and, in 2009, the Left tends to win in the historically Protestant parts of Germany." He's got some other observations about the vote (and also a few dubious conclusions about what this says about Europeans' desires for smaller government).

Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias notes that the Pirate Party got a decent 2% of the vote in their first election. Not bad!

55 comments:

Gus Snarp said...

Not sure why it's "uncanny" that Catholic areas voted more conservatively. In the US we see Catholics as voting Democratic, but there are plenty of conservative Catholics who vote republican in this country, especially around abortion issues. While the issues are different in Germany, I think that Catholics are moving toward a more conservative stance these days and away from the reforms of Vatican II. Don't know how that plays out in Germany, but I don't think it should be a surprise that southern Germany went conservative. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

Chachy said...

Yeah, and the protestant population is hardly comparable to that in the US. It's not like there are a lot of Southern Baptists and Pentecostals in Germany.

kilgoretrout said...

Catholic and conservative is mostly a indirect connection.

The Catholic parts of Germany are also the rich parts, while the conservative parts have a lot of decaying industrial towns with a big unemployed worker community.

At the same moment the Christian parties are definately conservative, but also liberal (a combination which might be strange in the USA) on economical issues.

So the poor worker areas voted social democratic and the rich parts voted more liberal.

Andrew said...

The CDU/CSU are a continuation of the pre-war Catholic Center Party (Zentrum) and Bavarian People's Party.

The Free Democrats are a continuation of the so-called buurgeois-rightist parties of the pre-war era such as the German People's Party.

If you look at the election maps of 1920 to 1933, you will see the same split - Center Party wins the Catholic west and south, the National Socialists and Social Democrats win the Protestant north and east.

Its interesting to note that the region of Germany that both Churchill and Stalin and Roosevelt all agreed the German inhabitants should be universally deported with the land handed over to Poland was the regions of strongest Nazi support (and before that, the extremist German National People's Party) - Pommerania, eastern Brandenburg, and Prussia, while Churchill opposed the same punishment being meted out to the Silesians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reichstagswahl_1920.png

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NSDAP_Wahl_1933.png

The Communists have also had historic strength in the regions of Saxony-Anhalt where the "Left" still dominates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reichstagswahl_1928.png

Very little has really changed in German politics and political persuasions from the time of Weimar.

Chachy said...

Thanks, Andrew. Interesting stuff (though I take it as a bit of hyperbole that political persuasions haven't changed since Weimar (cf. 1933-1945)).

Bob Fork said...

Hey there, I'm a political scientist from Germany...

The CDU/CSU (Christian Democrats; last one only in Bavaria, first one everywhere but Bavaria) is the successor of the conservative/centrist party of Weimar Republic's catholic DZP (Centerparty). But after the war they included also the former conservative/nationalist protestant voters of DVP and DNVP. But historically they have a little more support by catholics, that's right. Generally they are today comparable to the US Republican Party.

The SPD (Social Democrats) is the workers' party - just as before the war - and has only very little support by religios voters. In protestant areas the SPD also includes some conservative voters that have no strong religious background (otherwise they would vote CDU/CSU). Generally the SPD is comparable to the US Democrats (without very urban voters).

The FDP (Free Democrats) is the successor of the liberal (in Europe: economically right policies) parties DDP and DVP, who where protestant parties. Nowadays the FDP has same support by catholics, protestants and non-religious voters. The FDP voters are comparable to the urban US-Republican voters, who are not very conservative in non-economic issues. The FDP is strongly supported by whealthy people, who live in western and southern Germany.

(The NSDAP recruited their voters mainly from DDP and DVP, while DNVP was as nationalist as the NSDAP, so their voters didn't need to change to NSDAP. The catholic Centerparty was not that nationalist, but that doesn't mean the catholics didn't support Hitler; the Centerparty only could hold their electorate because of the unifying catholicism.)

The Green Party represents the urban voters - comparable to the urban US Democrats voters. Meaning the strongly liberal voters, who consider the (generally friendly) SPD being too conservative in non-economic and ecological issues.

The Left Party is half the successor of the GDR communists, half a new grouping of former SPD party members of western Germany. So in eastern Germany (here, the people are neither catholics nor protestants) it is the party of conservative/centrist (!) and economically left voters (!), while in western Germany it is a party somewhere between SPD and Greens.

Note: The opposition of rich vs. poor voters is demonstrated by the opposition of FDP vs. SPD (Left Party in eastern Germany). But this opposition is not visible on maps of election results in whole Germany, concerning the SPD! That is because of the circumstance that in protestant areas the support of the SPD is stronger than in catholic countries. And the protestant areas are in northern Germany. But protestants are not poorer than catholics. But one might say that protestants are a little more liberal in general; european protestants are not evangelical. The second cleavage is urban vs. rural, representing Green Party vs. CDU/CSU.

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asi said...

from the reforms of Vatican II. Don't know how that plays out in Germany, but I don't think it should be a surprise that southern Germany went conservative. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

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The Catholic parts of Germany are also the rich parts, while the conservative parts have a lot of decaying industrial towns with a big unemployed worker community.


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