Germany’s Social Democrats Overtake Merkel’s Bloc in Poll
(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s Social Democrats rose to an almost four-year high in a weekly poll, adding to evidence that they’re pulling ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc before a national election on Sept. 26.
INSA’s poll is the third to show Merkel’s conservatives now lagging the Social Democrats, who may be set for a remarkable comeback after almost ending up as an opposition party four years ago.
Support for the SPD increased 2 percentage points to 24%, the most since September 2017, when the last election was held. Support for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and the CSU, its Bavarian regional ally, declined 1 point to 21%, reaching a record low in the Insa poll for the second week in a row.
Merkel isn’t seeking a fifth term after 16 years in office, a decision that’s hurting her party. With CDU leader Armin Laschet heading the conservatives’ ticket, only 49% of those who voted for them in 2017 intend to do so this year, according to the poll published by Bild am Sonntag.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the Social Democratic candidate for chancellor, leads Laschet by 21 points in a gauge of personal popularity compiled by INSA. That contrasts with Merkel’s record of regularly topping the approval rankings for German politicians over the years.
Scholz, Laschet and the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock will square off in a televised debate later on Sunday. It’s a critical clash with just four weeks of campaigning left.
In the INSA poll, the Green party and the Free Democrats were unchanged at 17% and 13%, respectively. The nationalist Alternative for Germany declined 1 point to 11%, while the anti-capitalist Left party also lost 1 point, falling to 6%.
Currently, five three-way alliances are possible to form a ruling coalition, four of them with the SPD at the helm.
The Aug. 23-27 party preference poll of 1,247 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 points.
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