Merkel maintains lead in election campaign: polls
26 August 2005, BERLIN - Despite edging up in recent polls, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats are still badly trailing the conservative opposition as the nation's election campaign enters its crucial stage.
26 August 2005
BERLIN - Despite edging up in recent polls, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats are still badly trailing the conservative opposition as the nation's election campaign enters its crucial stage.
With just three weeks to go before the election, a poll released Friday by Germany's public TV station ZDF showed the Social Democrats (SPD) gaining one percentage point over the last week to reach 30 per cent.
But the poll, which was drawn up the Mannheim-based Forschungsgruppe Wahlen market research group, showed the opposition Christian Democrat-Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) unchanged at 43 per cent.
While the SPD's national coalition partners, the Greens slipped one percentage point to eight per cent, the CDU-CSU's likely coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP), held steady at eight per cent.
The country's new hardline left-wing party, the Left Party also garnered eight per cent in the ZDF poll, which was unchanged from the previous week.
There have been concerns that a strong showing by the Left Party in the September 18 election might mean that Merkel would be unable to gain a parliamentary majority for her preferred coalition and instead be forced to consider forming a so-called grand coalition with the SDP.
However, in line with the recent batch of polls, the ZDF survey showed Merkel's CDU-CSU coalition with the FDP as securing a parliamentary majority.
Only 20 per cent of those responding to the ZDF poll said they believed that a Schroeder-led SDP-Green party coalition could be re-elected next month.
A poll released Thursday by another German public TV station, ARD also gave the CDU-CSU a commanding lead over the SPD with the Merkel- led opposition coming in at 42 per cent and the SPD gaining one percentage point to reach 31 per cent.
At the end of August 2002 in the build-up to the last election, the gap between the major parties was much narrower with the ARD poll showing the CDU-CSU standing at 41 per cent and Schroeder's SDP holding 39 per cent of the vote.
As with other polls, Friday's survey shows Schroeder still emerging as German voters' preferred candidate for Chancellor. While 47 per cent said they preferred Schroeder as Chancellor, 42 per cent preferred Merkel as leader of Europe's biggest economy.
However, under the German electoral system, Germans vote for parties and do not directly elect their Chancellor.
Subject: German news