Election too close to call as SPD makes gains

9th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 September 2005, BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats have gained electoral support at the expense of the conservative CDU/CSU opposition led by Angela Merkel just nine days ahead of elections, according to a fresh opinion poll published Friday.


9 September 2005

BERLIN - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats have gained electoral support at the expense of the conservative CDU/CSU opposition led by Angela Merkel just nine days ahead of elections, according to a fresh opinion poll published Friday.

The poll by public broadcaster ZDF gave the CDU/CSU 41 per cent of the vote, down 2 percentage points, and their potential coalition partners, the liberal FDP, 7 per cent, yielding a total of 48 per cent.

Schroeder's SPD received 34 per cent, up 2 points, while their coalition partner, the Greens, came in at 7 per cent, yielding 41 per cent together.

Support for the Left Party came in at 8 per cent.

Even though polling Sunday is little more than a week away, 22 per cent of the electorate remain undecided, the poll found.

Some 35 per cent backed a grand coalition of the CDU/CSU with the SDP, while 31 per cent were in favour of a CDU/CSU coalition with the FDP. Only 17 per cent were in favour of the SDP-Green coalition continuing in power.

Asked to name their chancellor of choice, 53 per cent gave their vote to Schroeder and 40 per cent to Merkel.

The ZDF poll was the third this week to show Schroeder's coalition gaining ground against Merkel's alliance and follows a TV debate on Sunday between the two candidates, in which Schroeder is generally thought to have scored well.

Given a margin of error of almost 3 per cent for the larger parties and close to 2 per cent for the smaller, the indications are there may be no clear winner in Sunday's poll.

Observers believe Merkel may seek a grand coalition with the SPD, although probably without Schroeder.

The chancellor has also made clear he will not enter into coalition with the Left Party, which combines the former communists of East Germany with the followers of maverick former SPD politician Oscar Lafontaine in the West.

DPA

Subject: German news

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