There is one segment of the German population whose opinions significantly differ from the mainstream: supporters of Alternative for Germany (AfD). Whereas 63% of the population finds their government’s response to the coronavirus crisis adequate, nearly half (46%) of this group thinks their German government has fallen far short. Whereas 60% of respondents to our latest poll of 1,500 respondents thought that the German press had accurately reported the latest information about the coronavirus and caused the right amount of concern, a third of this group thought the media had caused unnecessary panic while nearly a quarter thought the media had made the public complacent.
Beyond the coronavirus crisis, however, supporters for AfD express little faith in the media. When asked if they trust and have confidence in the media to report the news accurately and fairly, only a quarter of respondents who say they voted for the AfD in the last election said yes––compared to half of the general population.
At the same time, there were no less likely than the general population to frequent the news more often nor to have a different type of news source. The main source of news for AfD supporters and the general population was television, which most checked multiple times a day.
Furthermore, a majority of German respondents altogether indicated that they picked which news sources to follow based on the political leanings of the outlet.
In this sense, there is little unique that sets AfD supporters from the mainstream. Of course, it may be that this group will turn to a different television channel or publication when it comes to the news. When they do tune into what the mainstream follows, however, they have clearly indicated that they are distrustful of what they hear.
This research was also published in Politico.