Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a small coastal state in northeastern Germany with just 1.3 million eligible voters, but losses there would be humiliating for Merkel whose electoral district is in the state. Trying to sway public opinion, Merkel made a last-minute campaign appearance on Saturday warning against the politics of “angst” offered by AfD with its “virulent” anti-refugee stance. She urged voters to consider her policies that had halved unemployment and pumped up tourism in their state.
The anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party is projected to make huge gains. Voters already punished Merkel in three state elections in March, voting in droves for the AfD and rejecting Merkel's Christian Democrats. Another key vote will be held in Berlin in two weeks to be followed by national elections next September.
The AfD, a new party founded two years after the last election in the state, is expected to capture 22 percent of the vote. The Social Democrats, senior partners in the state's ruling coalition, are expected to win 28 percent of the vote, compared with 35.6 percent in the last state-wide election in 2011.
According to a poll conducted by the Emnid institute, the AfD is also making gains nationwide. If the national election were held next week, The AfD would win 12 percent of the vote, making it the third-largest party in Germany. That would catapult the party into the German parliament for the first time since its creation in 2013.