Alliance '90/The Greens at the Crossroads: On Their Way to Becoming a Mainstream Party?
The Greens have been riding high in the polls for months now. In Baden-Württemberg, a stronghold of the Christian-Democratic Party (CDU), Winfried Kretschmann became the first Green party candidate to be elected Minister-President of any German state. This article looks beyond the current political climate to analyze longer-term trends in Green party support. The data used come from the Socio- Economic Panel (SOEP) Study, carried out by DIW Berlin in cooperation with TNS Infratest, Munich. The data are especially well suited to the in-depth analysis of party identification for two reasons: First, the SOEP has interviewed the same individuals on their party support for 27 consecutive years. Second, the SOEP provides a uniquely rich set of data on the question of who these Green partisans are-how much they earn, what educational qualifications they possess and what their occupational status is. Our results show that the successes of Alliance '90/The Greens in recent elections are the product of long-term changes in the party's electorate. From the 1980s until today, the Greens have enjoyed the over-proportional and uninterrupted support of younger voters. The party has also been successful in maintaining voter loyalty even as their supporters grow older. Furthermore, the results show that a large proportion of individuals who supported the Greens in their youth are now high-income earners, civil servants, salaried employees and self-employed. Because of this, Alliance '90/The Greens are now competing with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) to represent the interests of affluent middle-class voters.
Volume (Year): 1 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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