According to the analysis by the Wahlen research group, there are three reasons for the success of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia: the good reputation of the state party, the foundation for the CDU’s success and the older voters aged 60 and over.
Hendrik Wüst (CDU), for example, achieved a good 1.8 on the 5/-5 scale when compared to Prime Ministers with only a moderate record (good job: 61 percent). His SPD challenger Thomas Kutschaty, whom half of those surveyed do not know by name, comes to 1.4 and is also at a disadvantage when it comes to the question of the desired head of government: 33 percent are for Kutschaty, 41 percent for Wüst (none of them: six percent, don’t know: 20 percent).
When looking at the state parties, the CDU (1.4; 2017: 1.3) is just ahead of the SPD (1.2; 2017: 1.3). The FDP (0.2; 2017: 0.7) has clearly lost its image, while the Greens (0.9; 2017: 0.0) are the only party to clearly gain in reputation. In addition, there is a significantly increased appreciation of the Green federal party, which, with Economics Minister Robert Habeck (2.4), can also muster a stronger protagonist in the federal government than the SPD with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (1.7) and even more so the CDU with a weak party chairman Friedrich Merz (0.2).
In a state election, where politics in North Rhine-Westphalia was more important for 54 percent (federal politics: 41 percent), the black-yellow loss of power can first be explained by the mixed results of a coalition in which the work of the FDP (0.3) far more critical than that of the CDU (1.1). In addition, the FDP is also not very present in the areas of expertise, the CDU shows partially grown deficits in terms of content. In line with this, only 44 percent of those surveyed see their state as “rather well” equipped for the future (rather poorly: 49 percent).
When it comes to education and schools, the CDU is now slipping behind the SPD, which also enjoys the most trust on social issues such as rising prices, justice and the housing market. The Greens are in the lead when it comes to the top issue of energy policy and the issue of transport, which is also very important in North Rhine-Westphalia. The AfD remains practically invisible when it comes to competencies, but, as in other federal states, it stands out with miserable grades in opposition work and reputation.
The foundation for the success of the CDU is once again being laid by the 60-plus generation, with the discrepancy between old and young voters also becoming worse in North Rhine-Westphalia: while the CDU has increased to 43 percent in the generation of the over 60 year olds with the strongest participation, there are there are losses in both groups under 45 years of age. Among the under-30s, the CDU (18 percent) falls behind the Greens (25 percent) and SPD (21 percent); among 30 to 44-year-olds, the CDU (30 percent) is ahead of the Greens (22 percent) and SPD (21 percent). Just like the CDU, the SPD is only above the average for those aged 60 and over (35 percent).
The SPD remains strong among trade union members (37 percent), while among workers it is now being overtaken by the CDU (33 and 36 percent respectively). Among the self-employed, the FDP achieved a slightly above-average result (seven percent), but here it clearly fell in double digits.
The FDP is again getting a lot of support from men under 30, and the AfD is, as usual, above the average for middle-aged men. The Greens do better with women (20 percent) than with men (17 percent).
The CDU was above average among the self-employed (44 percent) and civil servants (41 percent), the SPD among workers (33 percent), the Greens among employees, civil servants (21 percent each) and the self-employed (20 percent).
When it comes to educational qualifications, the CDU has above-average success among voters with a secondary school diploma (42 percent), and below-average among those with a high school diploma (28 percent). The SPD is also voted above average by people with a secondary school degree (40 percent), and below average by those with a university degree (21 percent).
The Greens see it the other way around: above-average values for voters with a university degree (29 percent), well below-average for those with a secondary school degree (7 percent) and intermediate school leaving certificate (13 percent). The numbers are based on a telephone survey by the research group Wahlen unter 1361 randomly selected voters in North Rhine-Westphalia in the week before the election and on the survey of 16,967 voters on election day.