Europe's anti-immigration and hard-right parties are on the warpath

It seems like everywhere you look in continental Europe, the hard right is gaining ground.

There’s a bundle of political figures and parties that don’t all want to be associated with each other, but they all share at least two common tenets: Opposition to immigration, and scepticism about the European Union. Some parties in eurozone countries even advocate leaving the single currency.

Today, it’s the turn of the Sweden Democrats to bask in the limelight. In 2014, the hard-right party came in third place on 12.9% of the vote, shocking international commentators. But they have only been getting more popular since.

The last election was a strong result for the party, which has built support on the back of opposition to immigration in the country that has taken more refugees relative to the size of its population than anwhere else. In comparison, it got just 5.7% of the vote in 2010, and 1.49% in 2006.

But today, the Sweden Democrats lead in polls. A Yougov poll published on Thursday puts the party on 26.7%, 5 points clear of any other party. It’s one of 7 polls since August that have put the party in the lead in one of the world’s most open and liberal states.

But they’re hardly alone.

Germany’s rightist and eurosceptic AfD just got their best polling result ever, hitting 10.5%. They’re back in 3rd place as the public mood with regards to refugees becomes increasingly fearful.

Dutch polling likewise puts Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom not just in the lead for the next election (which must take place before March 2017), but 19 points clear of the next party.

In the rest of Europe, it’s a similar story. Austria’s Freedom Party have drawn or led in every poll conducted for the last six months. Italy’s regional hard-right Lega Nord’s polling average is sitting at around 15%, after getting just 4.1% in the 2013 election.

In France, there’s understandably been no polling since the brutal attacks in Paris on Friday night. But Front National leader Marine Le Pen, who has built up significant support on the same eurosceptic and anti-immigration platform, already led in most polls for the 2017 presidential election.

Le Pen has already demanded an immediate halt of all migrant flows into France since the attacks. Europe’s hard-right is already riding high after months of refugee crisis headlines, and the brutal attacks on Paris could propel it even further.

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