Does Religiosity Matter? Explaining Right-Wing Extremist Attitudes and the Vote for the Alternative for Germany (AfD)

Stefan Huber, Alexander Yendell


Especially in the East of Germany the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany has been very succesful in recent elections. The academic discourse concentrates on a lot of prominent theories to explain the vote for AfD as well as right-wing extremist attitudes. However, in this context religiosity is still a black box as the research reveals contradictory results due to the insufficient measurement of religiosity. Against this background the paper reflects on the theory of authoritarian personality (Adorno et. al 1950) and takes different forms of religiosity into account. Based on the analysis of a representative population survey (ALLBUS 2018), the paper discusse the role of different forms of religiosity such as commitment to church, attachment to god and belief in supernatural powers. The paper reveals that these factors play a role in a way that expecially belief in supernatural powers correlates with right-wing extremism and attachment to church is especially an immunizing factor in the East of Germany, where the doctrine of the churches as well as the democratic history is particularly helpful to prevent right-wing extremist views as well as the vote for the AfD.


Right-Wing Extremism, Right-Wing Populism, Religiosity, East Germany

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