Exit polls: German nationalists strong, Merkel party weak

BERLIN (AP) — Exit polls indicate that a nationalist, anti-immigration party has performed strongly in a state election in the region where Chancellor Angela Merkel has her political base, likely overtaking her conservative party.

The exit polls for ARD and ZDF public television put support for Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in Sunday’s election for the state legislature in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania around 21 percent. They put support for Merkel’s Christian Democrats at 19 or 20 percent.

The center-left Social Democrats, who lead the outgoing state government, were expected to be the strongest party with about 30 percent support.

Merkel’s refugee policies were a prominent issue in the campaign for Sunday’s election, which came a year after she decided to let in migrants from Hungary — setting off the peak of last year’s influx.

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