North Rhineland Westphalia election ended late yesterday afternoon. Last state election in Germany prior to the September national election. My ten observations:
1. CDU (Merkel's Party, big winner) with 33-percent win. SPD (previously had won the state five years ago) loser with 31.2-percent. Linke Party (far left party) managed only 4.9-percent and missed the five-percent point to be in the state assembly, so they are out of politics for the next five years in the state. Green Party had 6.4-percent. AfD had 7.4-percent. FDP surprised people with a 12.6-percent showing.
2. BIG LOSERS: The Greens lose almost 5 points off their 2012 election results, and some polling shows almost 90,000 voters who were Green Party supporters in 2012.....flipped over to the CDU in this election. The Pirate Party had a great showing in 2012 in the state with around 7-percent of the vote....but in this election....they lost 6.8 points. Then you come to the SPD Party, and since 2012....they lost 7.9 points (a lot).
3. BIG WINNERS: The FDP folks surprised the public with a four-point gain over 2012. And the CDU picked up 6.7 points since 2012.
4. It was an election that ended up centering on three key topics. A stalled economy with poor job prospects in NRW, immigration, and safety/security (crime). The SPD and Greens....in power since 2012....did more or less nothing over the five years, and watched crime simply increase. The economy, one can review and suggest that for twenty-odd years....the region has been in decline.
5. There are only two coalitions possible out of this situation. The CDU could partner up with the SPD (very unlikely). The CDU could partner up with the FDP (more than likely).
6. Snowball effect. Three state elections in the last 90 days. All three won by Merkel's CDU Party. The effect of Schulz being brought in during January? For a brief period, everyone was hyped (especially the news media) over the arrival of Schulz. As things stand right now....the surge that he enjoyed back in January is gone. The SPD folks have roughly 100 days to retool their campaign and come out with a different sales pitch. At present, there's no chance they will reach the 30-percent point nationally.
7. Where in NRW did the SPD win big? Urbanized metropolitan-type areas. The district map clearly shows their strength in the major cities.
8. What's left for Merkel and company for the rest of the national campaign? Very little chance of a scandal to occur. Erdogan is out there with the potential threat of opening up the smuggler's channels and allowing a quarter-million migrants to flood into Greece and trigger Germany to worry about the migrants arriving here. Beyond that, the race is a marginal episode to watch.
9. NRW has a history of a lot of voters staying home. Roughly 65-percent of the registered voters did show up....roughly 6-points higher than in 2012. But it also means that one-third of all NRW adults stayed home, and simply didn't vote.
10. What magic will the coalition of the CDU/FDP have the next five years to fix local issues? Very limited tool-bag. They can't fix the immigration problem, and there's very little over the economy that they can effect. So their efforts will be mostly to hire more cops....pressure prosecutors and judges to act on criminals....build another prison or two...and do some major mafia clean-up operations. If they fail....then in 2022....they will be 'fired'.
The perfect script for the CDU in 100 days would be the FDP gaining more points and ending up being the sole coalition partner of the CDU in some win episode.