Throughout the western world there is a growing gulf between official political life and the general population. The latest example of this is found in a poll published by Stern magazine indicating substantial political alienation in Germany. For example:
* 82% of the German population believe 'no consideration is given to the interests of the people' by leaders.
* 47% say elections are incapable of bringing about political change
According to a WSWS report on the poll, much of this alienation can be explained by the unprecedented re-division of wealth to favour the rich in recent years. They also point out the gulf between the people and the political class is reflected in recent party membership decline. The Christian Democrat Union membership has fallen by nearly a third since 1991 (to 561,000), and the Social Democratic Party membership has also fallen to 561,000 (from 755,000) but in much fewer years.