Germany’s Scholz Sees Improving Chances of Beating Merkel’s Bloc
(Bloomberg) -- German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is running as chancellor candidate for the Social Democrats, sees himself on the path to become Angela Merkel’s successor as his center-left party gains ground in the polls.
“The trend is now in favor of the SPD,” Scholz said Wednesday evening in an interview with broadcaster Welt. “We’re seeing new momentum. Not only my personal ratings are very good and still getting better, but also those of the SPD are now going up.”
Scholz’s optimism was backed by the latest Forsa poll, where his SPD gained 3 points to 19% -- the strongest support since 2018. While that’s still third place, it puts the party back in contention. Merkel’s conservatives continued to slip, losing 3 points to 23%, and the Greens were steady at 20%.
If Germans could elect their chancellor directly, more would pick Scholz than the other leading candidates, according to Forsa. His support jumped 5 points to 26%.
The Greens’ Annalena Baerbock was second with 16%, down 2 points from a week ago. Armin Laschet, the candidate for Merkel’s conservative bloc, lost 3 points to 12%. A series of gaffes have hit the CDU chief’s popularity, opening up the race.
The Social Democrats have been the junior partner in Merkel’s CDU-led coalition for the past four years, and Scholz as been a prominent figure in the country’s coronavirus response, unleashing billions of euros to support Europe’s largest economy.
Germany’s political landscape has been thrown open by Merkel’s pending departure. She will step down after 16 years following the Sept. 26 vote.
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