German Greens Narrow Gap to Merkel’s Bloc in Latest Insa Poll

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Germany’s Greens narrowed the gap to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance to one percentage point in the latest Insa poll for Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc retained the lead but lost half a point to 25% compared with the previous week’s survey, while the Greens gained half a point to 24%.

The Social Democrats, the junior partners in the ruling coalition, gained one point to 16% in third, with the far-right AfD in fourth on 12% and the liberal Free Democrats fifth on 11%.

With just over four months until September’s national election, the Greens have overtaken the conservatives in most recent polls and have a genuine chance of leading a German government for the first time. A May 12 Forsa survey for RTL/ntv had the Greens on 27% to the CDU/CSU’s 24%.

The Greens’ chancellor candidate, Annalena Baerbock, is vying with CDU Chairman Armin Laschet and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz of the SPD to succeed Merkel when she steps down after the Sept. 26 vote.

According to the Insa poll, possible coalitions with a parliamentary majority would include the CDU/CSU and Greens, a tie-up between the Greens, SPD and FDP, and an alliance of the CDU/CSU, SPD and FDP.

The Greens would not consider joining forces with the AfD, though they would not rule out cooperating with the Left party, Baerbock was quoted as saying in a Bild am Sonntag interview published Sunday.

“I disagree greatly with some factions of the Left party, including over their overly lenient stance toward authoritarian regimes like Russia,” Baerbock told the paper. At the same time, there are also areas of contention with Merkel’s conservatives, including over their support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, she said.

“For me, as well as climate protection, social issues and a common European foreign policy play a central role,” she added. “In the end, it depends on where there is the most overlap.”

While Baerbock is from the party’s moderate wing, the Greens’ campaign program bears signs of its more radical roots.

Their platform calls for changing the mandate of the European Central Bank to promote jobs rather than just maintaining price stability and includes a plan to invest 50 billion euros ($61 billion) a year in a digital and climate-friendly transformation of Europe’s largest economy.

They would fund the spending -- equivalent to an annual boost of about 1.5% to national output -- with steeper taxes on the wealthy and higher costs for polluting.

The Insa poll of 1,350 people was conducted May 10-14 by telephone and online.

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